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Cuevas et al. v. Bacal, [G.R. No. 139382. December 6, 2000]

14 Oct

FACTS

This case involves the appointment and transfer of career executive service officers (CESOs).  More specifically, it concerns the “appointment” of respondent Josefina G. Bacal, who holds the rank of CESO III, to the position of Chief Public Attorney in the Public Attorney’s Office, which has a CES Rank Level I, and her subsequent transfer, made without her consent, to the Office of the Regional Director of the PAO because of the appointment of Atty. Carina Demaisip to the position of Chief Public Defender (formerly Chief Public Attorney). Atty. Bacal filed a petition for quo warranto ruled in her favor by the Court of Appeals. Hence this petition for review on certiorari.

ISSUES

Whether:

  • (1) Bacal is entitled of security of tenure considering that she belongs to Career Service;
  • (2) security of tenure in the Career Executive Service is acquired with respect to the position or to the rank the officer is holding;
  • (3) CESOs may be shifted from one position to another without violating their security of tenure;
  • (4) Bacal’s unconsented transfer from Acting Chief Public Attorney to Regional Director constitutes a demotion;

RULING

  • (1) No. The mere fact that a position belongs to the Career Service does not automatically confer security of tenure on its occupant even if he does not possess the required qualifications. Such right will have to depend on the nature of his appointment, which in turn depends on his eligibility or lack of it.  A person who does not have the requisite qualifications for the position cannot be appointed to it in the first place or, only as an exception to the rule, may be appointed to it merely in an acting capacity in the absence of appropriate eligibles. Here, Atty. Bacal has a rank of CESO III “appointed” to a position of CESO I. The appointment extended to him cannot be regarded as permanent even if it may be so designated.
  • (2) Security of tenure in the career executive service is acquired with respect to rank and not to position.The guarantee of security of tenure to members of the CES does not extend to the particular positions to which they may be appointed a concept which is applicable only to first and second-level employees in the civil service but to the rank to which they are appointed by the President. Here, respondent did not acquire security of tenure by the mere fact that she was appointed to the higher position of Chief Public Attorney since she was not subsequently appointed to the rank of CESO I based on her performance in that position as required by the rules of the CES Board.
  • (3) Yes. Members of the Career Executive Service may be reassigned or transferred from one position to another and from one department, bureau or office to another;provided that such reassignment or transfer is made in the interest of public service and involves no reduction in rank or salary; provided, further, that no member shall be reassigned or transferred oftener than every two years. If a CESO is assigned to a CES position with a higher salary grade than that of his CES rank, he is allowed to receive the salary of the CES position. Should he be assigned or made to occupy a CES position with a lower salary grade, he shall continue to be paid the salary attached to his CES rank. Here, there is a valid transfer of Atty. Bacal to the Regional Office as it was made in the interest of public service and she is still compensated according to her CES rank.
  • (4) No. Respondent’s appointment to the position of Chief Public Attorney was merely temporary and that, consequently, her subsequent transfer to the position of Regional Director of the same office, which corresponds to her CESO rank, cannot be considered a demotion, much less a violation of the security of tenure guarantee of the Constitution. The rule that outlaws unconsented transfers as anathema to security of tenure applies only to an officer who is appointed – not merely assigned – to a particular station. Such a rule does not proscribe a transfer carried out under a specific statute that empowers the head of an agency to periodically reassign the employees and officers in order to improve the service of the agency.
 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Case Digests, Public Officers

 

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