CANDA, Regi Greja C.;
PEREZ, Eloisa C.;
BERNARDO, Heidi;
IGNACIO, Allan P.;
CECILIO, Girlie B.;
TIMBOL, Francisco;
ABIOG, Joycelyn C.;
MORALES, Ma. Margarita Rosario G.;
BELARDO, Hilario C.; and
VILORIA, Arnel C.

Re: Termination from the Service; Co-Terminous
X -------------------------------------------------------------- X

 

RESOLUTION NO. 98-2456


            Regi Greja C. Canda, Eloisa C. Perez, Heidi Bernardo, Allan Ignacio, Girlie Cecilio, Francisco Timbol, Joycelyn Abiog, Ma. Margarita Rosario Morales, Hilario Belardo and Arnel Viloria, all coterminous employees of the Department of Health (DOH), appeal their termination from the service by DOH Acting Undersecretary Rudyard A. Avila III.

            The decision of Undersecretary Avila dated July 30, 1998, addressed to Undersecretary Milagros L. Fernandez reads, as follows:

            "Department Order No. FAE 078, s. 1998 dated July 17, 1998 states that ‘All employees whose appointment are Co-Terminous (sic) with their respective heads of offices are deemed terminated and considered resigned upon termination of appointments of the affected heads of offices,’. . .

            "Being one of the Officials who has been designated Undersecretary-Incharge of a new Office the services of all employees who are co-terminous (sic) with you when you were still the Undersecretary for Office of the Chief of Staff are deemed terminated.

            "Accordingly, the following personnel shall be considered separated from the service effective August 16, 1998:

NAME POSITION APPOINTING AUTHORITY
Ms. Regi Greja C. Canda Executive Assistant IV Dr. M. Fernandez
Ms. Eloisa Perez Executive Assistant IV - do –
Ms. Heidi Bernardo Private Secretary II - do –
Mr. August Voy Ogayon Clerk III - do –
Mr. Allan P. Ignacio Clerk III - do –
Mr. Gerlie B. Cecilio Clerk III - do –
Mr. Francisco L. Timbol Chauffeur I - do –
Mr. Ricardo F. Giron Chauffeur I - do –’’

            The other decision also dated July 30, 1998 of Undersecretary Avila addressed Undersecretary Ma. Margarita M. Galon reads, as follows:

            "Department Order No. FAE 078 s, 1998 states that ‘All employees whose appointments are Co-Terminous with their respective heads of offices are deemed terminated and considered resigned upon termination of appointments of the affected heads of offices,’. . .

            "Being one of the Officials who has been designated Undersecretary-Incharge of a new office the services of all employees who are co-terminous with you when you were still the Undersecretary for Office for Standards and Regulations are deemed terminated.

            "Accordingly, the following personnel shall be considered separated from the service effective August 16, 1998:

NAME POSITION APPOINTING AUTHORITY
1. Ms. Joycelyn C.Abiog Executive Assistant IV Dr. M. Galon
2. Ms. Ma. Margarita Rosario G. Morales Private Secretary I - do –
3. Mr. Hilario C. Belardo Chauffeur I - do –
4. Mr. Arnel C.Veloria Driver I - do –

            The Appeal of Canda, et al. reads, in part, as follows:

"Another issue we are now confronting is the termination of the Coterminous (sic) personnel of the Undersecretaries of the Office of the Chief of Staff and the Office for Standards and Regulation. Department Order No. FAE 078, s. 1998 dated July 17, 1998 states that ‘All employees whose appointment are Co-terminous with their respective heads of offices are deemed terminated and considered resigned upon termination of appointments of the affected heads of offices. Director Paulina Maravilla’s memorandum indicated that ‘being one of the Officials who has been designated Undersecretary In Charge of a new office, the services of all employees who are co-terminous with you when you were still the USEC for the Office of the Chief of Staff are deemed terminated.’ Accordingly, eight (8) personnel from the OCS and four (4) personnel of the Office for Standards and Regulation shall be considered separated from the service effective August 16, 1998.

"Isn’t it that personnel whose appointment is co-terminous is only separated from service if his or her appointing officer is deemed terminated or considered resigned? In the above mentioned case, the appointing officers (Undersecretary Fernandez and Undersecretary Galon) are not terminated from service and have not resigned either. How can their CT personnel be separated from service?"

            The records disclose that on July 15, 1998, the Secretary of Health issued Department Order No. FAE 078, s. 1998 implementing a new organizational structure of the DOH. As a consequence, the Undersecretaries and Assistant Secretaries were reassigned or reshuffled to different offices within the DOH.

            Accordingly, Undersecretary Galon, who was then the head of the Office for Health Facilities, Standards and Regulations (OHFSR) was reassigned to the Office for Health Facilities. On the other hand, Undersecretary Fernandez, who was then the head of the Office of the Chief of Staff (OCS), was reassigned to the Office for Standards and Regulations.

            Upon the reassignment of Undersecretaries Fernandez and Galon to their respective new offices, Paulina V. Maravilla, Director III, Administrative Services, DOH, issued the decision, duly approved by Acting Undersecretary Rudyard A. Avila, III terminating the services of Canda, et al.

            Hence, this Appeal.

            The only issued to be resolved is whether or not there is factual or legal basis to terminate the services of Canda, et al.

            It has been noted that in the respective appointments of Canda, Perez, Timbol, Cecilio, Ignacio and Bernardo, it is specifically stated therein that they are "COTERMINUS (sic) with USEC M.L. FERNANDEZ" at the "Office of the Chief of Staff". Similarly, it is categorically stated in the appointments of Morales, Belando, Veloria, and Abiog that they are "Co-Terminus (sic) with Usec. M. Galon" at the"Office for Health Facilities, Standards and Registration."

            It is thus evident that the appointments of Canda, et al. are all station specific. Hence, their term of office shall be coterminous with the officials whom they serve while said officials are the incumbent heads of the offices where Canda, et al. were appointed.

            Considering, therefore, that Undersecretaries Fernandez and Galon are no longer the heads of the OCS and OHFSR, respectively, as a consequence of their transfer to other offices, it follows that the term of office of Canda, et al. are deemed to have expired, effective on the date of reassignment of said Undersecretaries. Thus, the separation of Canda, et al. from the service is valid. Applicable to this issue is Section 14(3), Rule V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 which provide, as follows:

            "Sec. 14. An appointment may also be co-terminous which shall be issued to a person whose entrance and continuity in the service is based on the trust and conference of the appointing authority or that which is subject to his pleasure, or co-existent with his tenure, or limited by the duration of project or subject to the availability of funds.

            "The co-terminous status may be further classified into the following:

x x x

            "(3) co-terminous with the incumbent – when the appointment is co-existent with the appointee, in that after the resignation, separation or termination of the services of the incumbent the position shall be deemed automatically abolished;. . ."

x x x

            While it may be true that Undersecretaries Fernandez and Galon did not resign nor were they terminated from the service, the fact remains that they ceased to be the heads of the OCS and OHFSR where Canda, et al. were specifically appointed to. Hence, by inevitable implication, the term of office of Canda, et al. expired upon the transfer of the officials whom they are supposed to serve at the OCS and OHFSR. To rule otherwise would lead to an absurd and awkward situation where a personal and confidential staff with coterminous appointment will remain in office where they were specifically appointed to, despite the fact that the official whom he is supposed to serve is no longer in that particular office.

            Nevertheless, the Commission has noted that Undersecretaries Fernandez and Galon, because of their positions, should have their respective personal and confidential staff to answer the needs of their new assignment.

            Therefore, the Commission acquiesces to the need of Undersecretaries Galon and Fernandez of the basic personal and confidential staff in their respective new offices. The Commission likewise recognizes the wide latitude of discretion enjoyed by them in the selection thereof. Thus, Undersecretaries Galon and Fernandez may retain a maximum of three (3) personal and confidential staff to serve them under coterminous status.

            WHEREFORE, the Appeal of Regi Greja C. Canda; Eloisa C. Perez; Heidi Bernardo; Allan Ignacio; Girlie Cecilio; Francisco Timbol; Joycelyn Abiog; Ma. Margarita Rosario Morales; Hilario Belardo, and Arnel Viloria is hereby denied. Undersecretaries Margarita M. Galon and Milagros L. Fernandez, however, may each retain a maximum of three coterminous staff in their respective offices.

            Quezon City, September 23, 1998



  (Signed)
CORAZON ALMA G. DE LEON
Chairman
(Signed)
THELMA P. GAMINDE
Commissioner


(Signed)
JOSE F. ERESTAIN, JR.
Commissioner
  Attested by:


(Signed)
ARIEL G. RONQUILLO
Director III