1. The old 1999 Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (cf. CSC Resolution No. 99-1936, dated August 31, 1999, and CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, S. 1999) was repealed or modified accordingly by 2011 RRACCS.
2. Sec. 2, Rule 1, of RRACCS provides that RRACS applies to all disciplinary and nondisciplinary administrative cases brought before the Civil Service Commission, “agencies and instrumentalities of the National Government”, local government units, and government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters except as may be provided by law.
3. All provisions in the old Departmental Rules of the Executive Branch which are inconsistent w/ 2011 RRACCS should be deemed void, ineffective, and ultra vires.
4. Section 126, Rule 124, of RRACCS (Repealing Clause) provides that the 1999 Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (CSC Resolution No. 99-1936 dated August 31, 1999; CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999) and “all other memorandum circulars, resolutions, rules or regulations inconsistent with this Rules are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”
5. Section 3 (Construction) of RRACCS provides that RRACCS shall be “liberally construed” in order to promote their objective in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of administrative cases.
6. It also provides that administrative investigations shall be conducted “without strict recourse to the technical rules of procedure and evidence applicable to judicial proceedings”.
7. Section 4 (Definition of Terms) of RRACCS defines “AGENCY” as referring to “any bureau, office, commission, administration, board, committee, institute, corporation with original charter, whether performing governmental or proprietary function, or any other unit of the national government as well as provincial, city or municipal government.”
8. The term “DEPARTMENT” refers to any of the “executive departments or entities having the category of a department, including the judiciary, legislative and the other constitutional commissions”. (Id.).
9. “DISCIPLINING AUTHORITY” refers to the “person or body duly authorized to impose the penalty provided for by law or rules.”
JURISDICTION OF CSC EN BANC.
10. Section 7 (Cases Cognizable by the Civil Service Commission) provides that the CSC shall take cognizance, inter alia, of decisions of heads of agencies imposing penalties exceeding thirty (30) days suspension or fine in an amount exceeding thirty (30) days salary brought before it on appeal.
11. Section 9 (Jurisdiction of Heads of Agencies) provides that:
11.1. The Dept. Secretaries and heads of agencies, and other instrumentalities, shall have original concurrent jurisdiction with the Commission over their respective officers and employees.
11.2. They shall take cognizance of complaints involving their respective personnel.
11.3. In case the decision rendered by a bureau or office head is appealable to the Commission (i.e., Dismissal), the same “may” be initially appealed to the department and “finally” to the Commission.
11.4. Pending appeal, the Decision shall be executory except when the penalty is removal, in which case the same shall be executory only after confirmation by the Secretary concerned.
12.Section 45 (Finality of Decisions) provides that if the penalty imposed is suspension exceeding thirty (30) days [ie., DISMISSAL], or fine in an amount exceeding thirty (30) days’ salary, the same shall be final and executory after the lapse of the reglementary period for filing “a motion for reconsideration or an appeal” and no such pleading has been filed.
12.1. The use of the disjunctive term “OR” shows that:
(a) The dismissed employee may or may not file a motion for reconsideration w/ the 1st-Level Disciplining Authoirty;
(b) The employee may directly appeal the questioned Decision (Dismissal) to the 2nd-Level/Dept.-Level/Appellate Disciplining Authority (Dept. Sec.) w/o first filing a motion for recon w/ the 1st-Level Disciplining Authority;
(c) The employee may appeal the Decision of the 1st-Level Disciplining Authority (lower than Dept. Sec. level):
· First to the Department Secretary
· And, finally, to the CSC En Banc;
· Or, the employee may appeal the Decision of the 1st-Level Disciplining Authority directly to the CSC En Banc.
· In the meantime, even while the CSC appeal is pending [bypassing the Dept. Sec.], the he may proceed w/ his own “confirmation” process to determine if the dismissal can be/should be executed pending appeal w/ the CSC En Banc.
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION.
13. Section 56 provides that the party adversely affected by the decision may file a motion for reconsideration with the Disciplining Authority who rendered the same within fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof.
13.1. A motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration is not allowed.
14.Section 59 provides that only one motion for reconsideration shall be entertained.
14.1. If a second motion for reconsideration is filed the finality of the Decision shall be reckoned from the denial of the first motion for reconsideration.
15. Section 60 provides that the filing of a motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period of fifteen (15) days shall stay the execution of the decision sought to be reconsidered.
15.1. This refers to a decision of a 1st-Level Disciplining Authority.
15.2. The exception is the case of a Dismissal which must first be confirmed by the Dept. Sec. to be immediately executory pending appeal by the employee before the CSC En Banc.
15.2.1. Here, if the Dismissal was confirmed by the Dept. Sec., and even if it was appealed further by the employee to the CSC En Banc, it would be immediately executory pending such appeal.
16.Section 61 provides that, subject to Section 45, supra, decisions of Heads of Departments, agencies, provinces, cities, municipalities and other instrumentalities imposing a penalty exceeding thirty (30) days suspension (i.e., Dismissal) or fine in an amount exceeding thirty (30) days salary, may be appealed to the Commission within a period of fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof.
17. In case the decision rendered by a bureau or office head is appealable to the Commission, the same
· may be initially appealed to the Dept. Head/Dept. Sec.;
· and then finally to the Commission.
18.All decisions of heads of agencies are immediately executory pending appeal before the Commission.
19.The decision imposing the penalty of dismissal by disciplining authorities in departments is not immediately executory unless confirmed by the Dept. Sec..
20. However, the Commission may take cognizance of the appeal pending confirmation by the Secretary.
20.1. It seems that the “confirmation” process before the Dept. Sec. is not equivalent to the “regular appeal” process before him.
20.2. It seems that even if the dismissed employee directly appeals to the CSC En Banc, by-passing the Dept. Sec., the latter may still proceed with the “confirmation” process at his level to make the dismissal immediately executory pending appeal w/ the CSC En Banc.
21.Section 64 (Perfection of an Appeal) provides that to perfect an appeal, the appellant shall submit three (3) copies of the following documents:
21.1. Appeal memorandum containing the grounds relied upon for the appeal, together with the certified true copy of the decision, resolution or order appealed from, and certified copies of the documents or evidence.
21.1.1. The appeal memorandum shall be filed with the appellate authority, copy furnished the disciplining authority.
21.1.2. The latter (“Disciplining Authority”) shall submit the Case Record to the Appellate Authority with his Comment, within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the Appeal Memo.
21.2. Proof of service of a copy of the appeal memorandum to the disciplining office;
21.3. Proof of payment of the appeal fee; and
21.3.1. Section 63 (Appeal Fee) provides that the appellant shall pay an appeal fee and a copy of the official receipt thereof shall be attached to the appeal.
21.4. A statement or certificate of non-forum shopping.
22. The doctrine of LIBERALITY is applied by the CSC En Banc here. (Sec. 64).
22.1. When an appellant fails to comply with any of the appeal requirements within the reglementary period, the Commission shall direct compliance within a period of not more than ten (10) days from receipt thereof, with a warning that failure to comply shall be construed as failure to perfect an appeal and shall cause the dismissal of the appeal with prejudice to its refiling.
23. Please note that the 2011 RRACCS does not require a Notice of Appeal, unlike the old rules of some Departments.
24. Section 65 (Effect of Filing an Appeal) provides that in Decisions requiring confirmation the Department Secretary (i.e., Dismissal), an appeal shall stop the decision from being executory.
24.1. In other words:
24.1.1. If the penalty is Dismissal, requiring the confirmation of the Dept. Sec., and an appeal is filed by the employee w/ the Dept. Sec., the execution of the Dismissal is suspended pending regular appeal w/ the Dept. Sec. or pending his “confirmation” process.
24.1.2. If the Dept. Sec. confirms the Dismissal, it is immediately executory even if the employee appeals further to the CSC en Banc.
25. Section 66 (Remand of an Appealed Case to Agency of Origin) provides that if a formal charge has been issued but the disciplining authority has violated respondent-appellant’s right to procedural due process, the Commission shall remand the appealed case to the agency of origin for further proceedings to be conducted within three (3) calendar months from the date of receipt of the case records.
25.1. The absence of the cold neutrality of a judge destroys an employee’s rights to due process of law and to equal protection of the law. (Cf. “Caesar’s Wife” doctrine).
26. After the Remand Order, if at the end of the three (3) month period, the disciplining authority failed to conduct further proceedings, the Commission upon motion of the respondent-appellant shall vacate and set aside the appealed decision and declare the respondent-appellant exonerated of the charges.
Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr.