PLAZA, Amparo M.
Re: Simple Misconduct
X --------------------------- X



            Amparo Plaza, Principal II of Tabon M. Estrella National High School, Bislig, Surigao del Sur, was formally charged by the Civil Service Regional Office No.XI with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Documents in connection with an answer she placed in her Personal Data Sheet (PDS). She claimed in the PDS she submitted that had no pending case in order to support the reclassification of her position from Principal I to Principal II.

            The formal charge reads as follows:

            "That in your CS Form 212 (Personal Data Sheet) accomplished of January 22, 1997, you answered ‘no’ to the question in item no. 25 therefore x x x which is ‘DO YOU HAVE ANY PENDING ADMINISTRATIVE/CRIMINAL CASE?’. That upon investigation it was found out that you have a pending administrative case with the Civil Service Commission Regional Office XI on July 12, 1996; That the abovementioned act in answering ‘no’ to item No. 25 constitute the offense of Dishonesty and Falsification of Official Documents".

            The Respondent, in her answer, stated, among other things, as follows:

x x x

"2. That while I admit having written the word ‘no’ in answer to question no. 25 of CS Form No. 212 (personal data sheet) which I accomplished and filed last January 22, 1997, I deny having committed acts of Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct and Falsification of Official Document as I have not even the slightest intention of committing such a violation;

"3. That in my 32 years in the public service, filling up of CS Form No. 212 had been a process that I usually underwent starting from the time when I applied as a classroom teacher in 1965, then when I earned the promotion as Head Teacher in 1990, then later when I was promoted as Principal I in 1994 and the latest of which was on January 22, 1997 when my application for reclassification of my item to Principal II, was approved;

"4. That as it is usually done as one goes a long way in his/her career in the public service, accomplishing the same becomes ‘automatic’ especially when it is done hurriedly with excitement. This is what exactly happened when I accomplished the CS Form 212 last January 22, 1997. I accomplished the said form in the Civil Service Office, Tandag, Surigao del Sur unexpectedly. The same was given to me for filing up with the good news that my application for the reclassification of my item to Principal II from Principal I was already approved. I was quite excited after having learned of that information which was relayed to me just right there and then. I was right there given the CS Form 212 so I filled it up hurriedly and overjoyed, writing the answer no to series of questions without pondering upon my answer because I used to fill them up that way before. The pending administrative case that I have with the Civil Service Commission did not come into my mind during that time because I was doing it under extreme feeling of joy coupled with the fact that I used to fill the said form that way.

"5. That the pending case against me is with the Civil Service Commission itself, hence, intentionally denying it in a document which will be submitted in the same office is quite unwise (sic). I could not have done it intentionally only to lay waste my 32 years length of service which I have earned through hardships."

x x x

            Respondent also submitted a supplemental answer wherein she stated as follows:

x x x

            "I would like to respectfully submit aside from lack of intention to falsify the question in Form 212, the following facts to support my defense to wit:

1- For the first complaint, I believe that since I did not benefit any material thing or amount and since the complainant demanded payment from us and full payment was done, in which an affidavit of desistance was executed by the complainant, I did not think anymore of a pending case against me, believing it was amicably settled. The complainants affidavit of desistance is hereto attached as ‘Annex I’ and xerox copies of payments attached as Annex ‘2-3-4 & 5’.

            "Again Madam, may I reiterate that I did not have the slightest intention to falsify documents, it is just because of my over excitement, joy and happiness that my request for reclassification of my item from Principal I to Principal II was approved in less than a year.

2- My government service is now thirty two (32) years and during this length of service it is only this year that I have been administratively charged. Attached is my service record marked as Annex ‘6’.

3- I have never been charged criminally before the court as shown by the attached clearance certificate of the Provincial Prosecutor marked as Annex ‘7’.

4- Likewise, I have been a devout Catholic, with good moral character and this can be vouched by the attached certification from our Parish Priest marked as Annex ‘8’.

            "In view of the foregoing documentary evidence, I respectfully and fervently pray that my case be decided fairly and be tempered with justice, mercy and humanitarian consideration. At present, I am the breadwinner in my family supporting my retired husband receiving (sic) very little pension just enough to buy medicine for he is operated (sic) kidney and still supporting my two children in college, and my elder sister who was paralized due to heart attack and under my support, I am appealing therefore for your humanitarian consideration, we are just human being (sic)."

x x x

            During the formal investigation conducted on July 25, 1997, respondent was represented by her counsel.

            The prosecution presented in evidence the following documents:

Exhibit "A" - the registry return receipt on the order of CSRO No. XI for the hearing on July 25, 1996;

Exhibit "B" - the formal charge issued on April 3, 1997 for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Documents;

Exhibit "C" - the counter-affidavit of the Respondent dated May 6, 1997;

Exhibit "D" - the CSRO No. XI Resolution in Adm. Case filed by Leonarda Mangin against Amparo Plaza for Dishonesty, Gross Neglect of Duty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service;

Exhibit "E" - the Personal Data Sheet of the Respondent accomplished on January 22, 1997.

            For the Respondent’s evidence, she presented the following documents:

Exhibit "1" - her answer/counter-affidavit dated May 6, 1997;

Exhibit "2" - the Registry Receipt dated May 6, 1997 for letter No. 124;

Exhibit "3" - her supplemental answer dated May 19, 1997;

Exhibit "4" - the affidavit of desistance executed by Leonarda Mangin relative to the case for Dishonesty filed by the latter against the Respondent and pending investigation with the CSRO No. XI, Davao City;
Exhibit "5" - the certification of Leonarda Mangin issued on March 1, 1996;
Exhibit "6" - the receipt of Mangin on the P5,000;
Exhibit "7" - the PNB savings deposit slip for P8,900 in the name of Leonarda Mangin;
Exhibit "8" - the PNB Official Receipt No. 606815 issued on August 12, 1996;
Exhibit "9" - the service record of the Respondent issued on May 14, 1997;
Exhibit "10" - the clearance issued by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Bislig, Surigao del Sur on May 15, 1997;
Exhibit "11" - the undated certification issued by the Parish Priest of Saint Vincent de Paul Parish, Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur.

            Records show that Amparo Plaza is one of the respondent in an administrative case for Dishonesty filed by Leonarda Mangin with the CSRO No. XI which is still pending investigation. The formal charge in the said case was issued on July 12, 1996 and on September 2, 1996, the counsel of Respondent Plaza submitted a motion for extension of time to file an answer up to August 27, 1996.

            Thus, as of January 22, 1997 when respondent accomplished her CS Form 212, she actually had a pending administrative disciplinary case which has yet to be decided.

            The Commission finds without merit the defense raised by the respondent that Mangin had already executed an affidavit of desistance. The same does not cure the misrepresentation of the respondent in her CS Form 212.

            The allegation of the respondent that she already paid Mangin in the case filed by the latter against her is immaterial. Even the complainant’s desistance in pursuing the case against respondent does not automatically operate to dismiss the administrative charge. What is crucial is the fact that the respondent had a pending case which she did not reveal in her CS Form 212.

            In the case of PANCHO, Pierre, CSC Resolution No. 96-4141 dated June 1996, the Commission explained the importance of disclosing truthful statements in the Personal Data Sheet as follows:

x x x

            "The Commission has consistently ruled that a Personal Data Sheet (CS Form 212) is a public or official document. As such, the duty to disclose truthful statements therein should or ought to be beyond question. Otherwise, the integrity of said document would be tainted as people required to fill it up would tend to casually enter therein whatever simulated or false information they feel would be their full advantage or plain liking, on the false notion that there is no legal obligation on their part to reveal correct data therein."

            Likewise, in the case of Bautista vs. Navarro (114 SCRA 794), the Supreme Court had laid down the doctrine that is a legal obligation to state true facts in a Personal Data Sheet. Thus,

            x x x Personal Data Sheet is an official document required of a policeman by the Napolcom and the Civil Service Commission.. Petitioner was under legal obligation to reveal the fact that he was charged with an election offense in his Personal data sheet.. and the concealment constitute mental dishonesty amounting to misconduct…"

x x x

            Pointedly, Section 14 of Rule VI of Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 bars employees who have pending administrative case from promotion, thus:

            "Section 14. When an employees has a pending administrative case, he shall be disqualified for promotion during the pendency thereof.

            "If he found guilty, he shall be disqualified for promotion for a period based on the penalty imposed as prescribed by the Commission.

            "For purpose of this Rule, a pending administrative case shall be construed as follows: (1) when the disciplining authority has already filed a formal charge; or (2) in case of a complaint filed by a private person, a prima facie case is already found to exist by the disciplining authority."

            Indeed, it would constitute a grave offense for one who has pending administrative case to misrepresent in his PDS that he has none for the purpose of qualifying for promotion. This is so because the fact as to one’s pending administrative case is a material fact, the non-disclosure of which is evident of a deliberate intention to deceive or fraud.

            In this case, the appointment issued to Plaza was not for the purpose of promotion but merely a reclassification of her position from Principal I to Principal II. Undoubtedly, the pendency of an administrative case against the respondent cannot bar the approval of said appointment.

            The Commission in the case of CHUA, Remedios CSC Resolution No. 95-4776, dated 1 August 1995 explained the nature of reclassification or retitling of position as follows:

            "At the outset, it is noted from the documents submitted that the subject appointment issued to Chua was not for purposes of promotion but merely a reallocation and retitling of her former position (Medical Technician IV). She is an incumbent of a position which was reclassified. Thus, she has a right to be issued an appointment to the reclassified or retitled position even if she does not meet the QS. Since she occupied said position prior to reclassification or retitling under permanent status, then she shall retain the same status of appointment. She cannot be deprived of a vested right to the position simply because the QS for the retitled or reallocated position now prescribes a different educational requirement and eligibility, i. e., a Bachelor’s degree in Radiology and RA 1080 (Radiology)."

            Clearly, the pendency of Plaza’s administrative case is not a material fact, hence, when she failed to indicate the same in her PDS she could not be held liable for a grave offense. Nonetheless, the fact that Plaza failed to fully disclose the truth in an official document such as the PDS is a clear transgression of the norms and standards expected of her as a public servant. Verily, the said act constitutes Simple Misconduct for which Plaza should be held liable.

            Relevant to the instant case is the ruling of the Commission in VALDEZ, Fidel F., CSC Resolution No. 94-0428 dated 20 January 1994 which reads in part as follows:

            "A determination of whether or not the CS Form No. 212 dated July 7, 1987 of the respondent is falsified is necessary at this juncture. As stressed earlier; the respondent answered ‘none’ to the question ‘Do you have any pending administrative/criminal case? If you have any, give particulars.’ However, it is borne by the records that as of July 7, 1987 the respondent was facing a criminal case for Attempted Homicide, Grave Oral Defamation and Grave Threats. Moreover, Administrative Case No. R-0790-XI-86 wherein the herein respondent was also the respondent was also pending during that time.

            "The Commission finds that the respondent cannot be guilty of falsification. Be it stressed that the appointment supported by the subject Form 212 is but a shifting of item, not a promotion. Hence, the pendency of the administrative and criminal cases the respondent cannot bar the approval of said appointment. That information, therefore, even if respondent had entered in his Form 212 is not of a material fact to his appointment.

            "However, the Commission finds the act of the respondent in not disclosing the truth as a deviation from the established norms of conduct required of a public servant. A wrongful intention is evident which now constitutes as misconduct (Camus vs. CSC Board of Appeals, 112 Phil 306.)

            "WHEREFORE, the Commission hereby resolves to find Mr. Fidel E. Valdez guilty of Simple Misconduct. Accordingly, he is hereby meted out the penalty of three (3) months suspension from the service without pay with a stern warning that commission of any offense in the future shall be deal with more severely."

            WHEREFORE, Amparo M. Plaza is hereby found guilty of Simple Misconduct. Accordingly, she is meted the penalty of fine equivalent to fifteen (15) days salary. She is warned that commission of any offense in the future shall be deal with more severely.

            Quezon City, April 23, 1998


  Attested by:

Director III