Friday, May 1, 2020
Civil service cases; effect of failure of respondent government worker to file his Answer to the Complaint. - The failure of a respondent to file an answer merely translates to a waiver of "his right to file an answer." There is nothing in the rule that says that the charges are deemed admitted. It has not done away with the burden of the complainant to prove the charges with clear and convincing evidence.
GOVERNMENT SERVICE INSURANCE SYSTEM (GSIS), et al, Petitioners,
vs. DINNAH VILLAVIZA, et al, Respondents. EN BANC, G.R. No. 180291, July 27, 2010.
"X x x. The petitioners argue that there being no answers, the allegations in the formal charges that they filed should have been deemed admitted pursuant to Section 11, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court which provides:
SECTION 11. Allegations not specifically denied deemed admitted.- Material averment in the complaint, other than those as to the amount of liquidated damages, shall be deemed admitted when not specifically denied. Allegations of usury in a complaint to recover usurious interest are deemed admitted if not denied specifically and under oath.
According to the petitioners, this rule is applicable to the case at bench pursuant to Rule 1, Section 4 of the Rules of Court which reads:
SECTION 4. In what cases not applicable. - These Rules shall not apply to election cases, land registration, cadastral, naturalization and insolvency proceedings, and other cases not herein provided for, except by analogy or in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient.(underscoring supplied)
The Court does not subscribe to the argument of the petitioners. Petitioners' own rules, Rule XI, Section 4 of the GSIS' Amended Policy and Procedural Guidelines No. 178-04, specifically provides:
If the respondent fails to file his Answer within five (5) working days from receipt of the Formal Charge for the supporting evidence, when requested, he shall be considered to have waived his right to file an answer and the PGM or the Board of Trustees, in proper cases, shall render judgment, as may be warranted by the facts and evidence submitted by the prosecution.
A perusal of said section readily discloses that the failure of a respondent to file an answer merely translates to a waiver of "his right to file an answer." There is nothing in the rule that says that the charges are deemed admitted. It has not done away with the burden of the complainant to prove the charges with clear and convincing evidence.
It is true that Section 4 of the Rules of Court provides that the rules can be applied in a "suppletory character." Suppletory is defined as "supplying deficiencies." (Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition, p. 1184). It means that the provisions in the Rules of Court will be made to apply only where there is an insufficiency in the applicable rule. There is, however, no such deficiency as the rules of the GSIS are explicit in case of failure to file the required answer. What is clearly stated there is that GSIS may "render judgment as may be warranted by the facts and evidence submitted by the prosecution."
Even granting that Rule 8, Section 11 of the Rules of Court finds application in this case, petitioners must remember that there remain averments that are not deemed admitted by the failure to deny the same. Among them are immaterial allegations and incorrect conclusions drawn from facts set out in the complaint. [Herrera, Remedial Law, Vol. I, p. 548 (2000 ed.)]. Thus, even if respondents failed to file their answer, it does not mean that all averments found in the complaint will be considered as true and correct in their entirety, and that the forthcoming decision will be rendered in favor of the petitioners. We must not forget that even in administrative proceedings, it is still the complainant, or in this case the petitioners, who have the burden of proving, with substantial evidence, the allegations in the complaint or in the formal charges. [First United Construction Corporation v. Valdez, G.R. No. 154108, December 10, 2008, 573 SCRA 391, 399]."