Anzaldo vs. Clave 119 SCRA 353 (1982) G.R. No. L-54597, December 15, 1982

Fact: Petitioner, seeks to annul the decision of PEA Respondent dated March 20, 1980, revoking her appointment dated January 5, 1978 as Science Research Supervisor II and directing the appointment to that position of Doctor Respondent. The contested position became vacant in 1974 when its incumbent, Doctor Quintin Kintanar, became Director of the Biological Research Center. Doctor Kintanar recommended that Doctor Respondent be appointed to that position. Petitioner protested against that recommendation. The NIST Reorganization Committee found her protest to be valid and meritorious. Because of that impasse, which the NIST Commissioner did not resolve, the position was not filled up. At the time the vacancy occurred, or on June 30, 1974, both Petitioner and Respondent Doctor were holding similar positions in the Medical Research Department: that of Scientist Research Associate IV. Both were next-in-rank to the vacant position. Later, Doctor Pedro G. Afable, Vice-Chairman, became the Officer-in-Charge of the NIST. Effective January 5, 1978, he appointed Petitioner to the contested position. The appointment was approved by the Civil Service Commission. Doctor Venzon in a letter dated January 23, 1978, addressed to Jacobo C. Clave, appealed to the Office of the President of the Philippines. The appeal was forwarded to the NIST Petitioner to the contested position. The appeal-protest was later sent to the Civil Service Commission. Chairman Clave of the Civil Service Commission and Commissioner Jose A. R. Melo recommended in August 23, 1979 that Respondent Doctor be appointed to the contested position, a recommendation which is in conflict with the 1978 appointment of Doctor Anzaldo which was duly attested and approved by the Civil Service. The resolution was made pursuant to section 19(6) of the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines, Presidential Decree No. 807 (which took effect on October 6, 1975) and which provides that “before deciding a contested appointment, the Office of the President shall consult the Civil Service Commission.” Upon denial on January 5, 1980, Petitioner appealed to the Office of the President of the Philippines. As stated earlier, Respondent PEA (who was concurrently Chairman of the Civil Service Commission) in his decision of March 20, 1980 Petitioner ‘s appointment and ruled that, “as recommended by the Civil Service Commission” (meaning Chairman Clave himself and Commissioner Melo), Respondent Doctor should be appointed to the contested position but that Doctor Anzaldo’s appointment to the said position should be considered “valid and effective during the pendency” of Doctor Venzon’s protest. August 14, 1980, Respondent PEA denied Petitiioner’s motion which lead for her filing of special civil action of certiorari in the SC.

What is manifestly anomalous and questionable about that decision of Presidential Executive Assistant Clave is that it is an implementation of Resolution No. 1178 dated August 23, 1979 signed by Jacobo C. Clave, as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission and concurred in by Commissioner Jose A. Melo.

In that resolution, Commissioner Clave and Melo, acting for the Civil Service Commission, recommended that Doctor Venzon be appointed Science Research Supervisor II in place of Doctor Anzaldo.

When Presidential Executive Assistant Clave said in his decision that he was “inclined to concur in the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission”, what he meant was that he was concurring with Chairman Clave’s recommendation: he was concurring with himself

Issue: Whether Respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in deciding the appeal in favor of Doctor Venzon?

Held: Yes, It is evident that Doctor Anzaldo was denied due process of law when Presidential Executive Assistant Clave concurred with the recommendation of Chairman Clave of the Civil Service Commission.where it was held that the decision of Presidential Executive Assistant Clave affirming his own decision when he is still Chairman of the Civil Service Commission was void because it was rendered with grave abuse of discretion and was a mockery of administrative justice as per the courts decision in Zambales Chromite Mining Co. vs. Court of Appeals, L-49711, November 7, 1979, 94 SCRA 261. Due process of law means fundamental fairness. It is not fair to Doctor Anzaldo that Presidential Executive Assistant Clave should decide whether his own recommendation as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, as to who between Doctor Anzaldo and Doctor Venzon should be appointed Science Research Supervisor II, should be adopted by the President of the Philippines. Common sense and propriety dictate that the commissioner in the Civil Service Commission, who should be consulted by the Office of the President, should be a person different from the person in the Office of the President who would decide the appeal of the protestant in a contested appointment. In this case, the person who acted for the Office of the President is the same person in the Civil Service Commission who was consulted by the Office of the President: Jacobo C. Clave. The Civil Service Decree could not have contemplated that absurd situation for, as held in the Zambales Chromite case, that would not be fair to the appellant.

 

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