Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Equity and humanitarian consideration - G.R. No. 182606

G.R. No. 182606

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This is not the first time that a government employee had been dismissed from service for falsification of his eligibility for appointment purposes.

Maniebo v. Court of Appeals[41] is analogous to the instant case. Maniebo denied any participation in the preparation of her spurious Certificate of Eligibility. She maintained that she only received the same through the mails and was in good faith in submitting the same for her appointment. The Court held that the presumption of good faith does not apply when the employee’s Certificate of Eligibility conflicts with the CSC’s Masterlist of Eligibles. Moreover, the Court did not accept Maniebo’s long and satisfactory government service in order to mitigate the penalty of dismissal. The Court noted that Maniebo was undeserving of the mitigation given her refusal to own up to, and her lack of remorse for, her dishonesty.

In Bacsasar v. Civil Service Commission,[42] Bacsasar obtained her Certificate of Eligibility from a private individual and not from the CSC. The CSC verified the spurious nature of her eligibility because Bacsasar was not included in the CSC Masterlist of Passing/Failing Examinees. The Court rejected Bacsasar’s defense of good faith given that she did not even take the civil service exam.

In Civil Service Commission v. Cayobit,[43] Cayobit received her Certificate of Eligibility through mail and maintained that she believed the same to be genuine. The Court found her guilty of dishonesty given that she failed to explain the discrepancy in her passing grade in the certificate and the failing grade reflected in the CSC masterlist.

Like Dumduma, the dismissed employee in Re: Tessie G. Quires[44]also maintained that she was merely a victim of fixers operating within the CSC Office. The Court did not accede to her pleas and meted the prescribed penalty for dishonesty.

Disapproved Appointment of Limgas[45] also involved an employee who maintained that she acted in complete reliance that the Certificate of Eligibility she received after taking the CSC examination was authentic. Limgas claimed that “she was a victim of an injustice perpetrated by fixers, insiders and syndicates operating in the Regional Offices of the CSC.”[46] In rejecting her plea, the Court expressed its disbelief that a fixer would act for Limgas’ benefit, without the latter having any knowledge of the anomalous transaction.

Guided by the foregoing cited authorities, the Court holds that the CA did not err in affirming the penalty of dismissal and all its accessory penalties imposed by the CSC. Only those who can live up to the constitutional exhortation that public office is a public trust deserve the honor of continuing in public service.

Dumduma makes a final plea for leniency but the law and the prevailing jurisprudence binds the hands of this Court. We cannot change the imposable penalties for a clear case of dishonesty without at the same time, visiting injustice against all the other government employees that were similarly placed but received the full force of the law.

Nevertheless, the Court recognizes that petitioner was once an outstanding member of the police force. He risked life and limb serving the citizenry of Region 8 with total dedication and hard work. His service record shows that, since his original appointment in 1979, he patiently rose through the ranks until he was promoted to SPO4 in 1991. While justice exhorts that petitioner suffer the full penalties imposed by law, temperance cries out that he be recognized for whatever good he has done prior to his mistake. Thus, the Court deems proper, on a pro hac vice basis, to extend financial assistance of P50,000.00 to petitioner, which amount shall be taken from his forfeited retirement benefits. This award in no sense mitigates his offense but is made solely out of equity and humanitarian considerations.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed January 31, 2008 Decision and April 10, 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98207 are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Petitioner is extended a FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE of P50,000.00, to be taken from his forfeited retirement benefits on a pro hac vice basis.


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