CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. 161086, November 24, 2006

Fact: In response to an anonymous complaint alleging that certain municipal officials and employees of the municipal government of Infanta, Pangasinan had incurred cash shortages and committed graft and corruption, the Commission on Audit (COA) ordered the conduct of a fraud audit. Following the conduct of an audit, the audit team submitted a “Fraud Audit Report” finding, among other things, that the Municipal Treasurer granted various loans to Municipal Officers and Employees amounting to ₱993,686.09 “in violation of COA Circular putting public funds to become idle and depriving the municipality of using the same to a more productive endeavor for the benefit of the people.” One of the municipal officers and employees to whom loans were extended was Municipal Accountant Luzviminda M. Maniago (Luzviminda) who, at the time the audit was conducted, had an outstanding loan balance which she had fully paid by the time the audit report was submitted. Manuel, later filed a complaint against Luzviminda before the Office of the Mayor for violation of Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) in connection with the grant to her of the loan. In her Answer, Luzviminda claimed that the loan was extended to her by the Municipal Treasurer in the latter’s personal capacity. The then Acting Mayor Charlito M. Kho, by Resolution, found Luzviminda guilty of Grave Misconduct on the basis of the “Fraud Audit Report” and dismissed her from the service. On Luzviminda’s appeal, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) modified Acting Mayor Kho’s resolution, finding her guilty only of Conduct Grossly Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and accordingly modifying the penalty to suspension of one year.4 Her motion for reconsideration having been denied, Luzviminda filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari. The Court of Appeals reversed the CSC decision and ordered the reinstatement of Luzviminda,  The CSC’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied, hence, it filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari, Hence this Case

Issue: Whether the absence of a hearing did not deprive Petitioner of due process?

Held: No, Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. Due process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so charged to answer the accusations against him constitute the minimum requirements of due process. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process The essence of due process is an opportunity to be heard. One may be heard, not solely by verbal presentation but also, and perhaps even many times more creditably and practicable than oral argument, through pleadings. In administrative proceedings, moreover, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied; administrative due process cannot be fully equated to due process in its strict judicial sense.

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