ALBERTO PAT-OG, SR., vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, G.R. No. 198755, June 5, 2013

Facts:
On September 13, 2003, Robert Bang-on (Bang-on), then a 14-year old second year high school student of the Antadao National High School in Sagada, Mountain Province, filed an affidavit-complaint against Pat-og, a third year high school teacher of the same school, before the Civil Service Commission-Cordillera Administrative Region (CSC-CAR).

Bang-on alleged that on the morning of August 26, 2003, he attended his class at the basketball court of the school, where Pat-og and his third year students were also holding a separate class; that he and some of his classmates joined Pat-og’s third year students who were practicing basketball shots; that Pat-og later instructed them to form two lines; that thinking that three lines were to be formed, he stayed in between the two lines; that Pat-og then held his right arm and punched his stomach without warning for failing to follow instructions; and that as a result, he suffered stomach pain for several days and was confined in a hospital from September 10-12, 2003, as evidenced by a medico-legal certificate, which stated that he sustained a contusion hematoma in the hypogastric area.

Taking cognizance of the administrative case, the CSC-CAR directed Pat-og to file his counter-affidavit.

On June 1, 2004, the CSC-CAR found the existence of a prima facie case for misconduct and formally charged Pat-og. While the proceedings of the administrative case were ongoing, the RTC rendered its judgment in the criminal case and found Pat-og guilty of the offense of slight physical injury. He was meted the penalty of imprisonment from eleven (11) to twenty (20) days. Following his application for probation, the decision became final and executory and judgment was entered.

In its Decision dated September 19, 2006, the CSC-CAR found Pat-og guilty of Simple Misconduct.

The CSC-CAR believed that the act committed by Pat-og was sufficient to find him guilty of Grave Misconduct. It, however, found the corresponding penalty of dismissal from the service too harsh under the circumstances. Thus, it adjudged petitioner guilty of Simple Misconduct and imposed the maximum penalty of suspension for six (6) months. On December 11, 2006, the motion for reconsideration filed by Pat-og was denied for lack of merit.

The CSC dismissed Pat-og’s appeal and affirmed with modification the decision of the CSC-CAR to DISMISSED.

Pat-og filed a motion for reconsideration, questioning for the first time the jurisdiction of CSC over the case. He contended that administrative charges against a public school teacher should have been initially heard by a committee to be constituted pursuant to the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.

The CSC denied his motion for reconsideration. It ruled that Pat-og was estopped from challenging its jurisdiction considering that he actively participated in the administrative proceedings against him, raising the issue of jurisdiction only after his appeal was dismissed by the CSC.

CA affirmed the resolutions of the CSC. It agreed that Pat-og was estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CSC as the records clearly showed that he actively participated in the proceedings.

Issue:
Whether CSC has jurisdiction on the case despite concurrent jurisdiction with DepEd and the Board of Professional Teachers.

Held:
Yes, it was held that the CSC, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Board of Professional Teachers-Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) have concurrent jurisdiction over administrative cases against public school teachers.

Concurrent jurisdiction is that which is possessed over the same parties or subject matter at the same time by two or more separate tribunals. When the law bestows upon a government body the jurisdiction to hear and decide cases involving specific matters, it is to be presumed that such jurisdiction is exclusive unless it be proved that another body is likewise vested with the same jurisdiction, in which case, both bodies have concurrent jurisdiction over the matter.

Where concurrent jurisdiction exists in several tribunals, the body that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of the others. In this case, it was CSC which first acquired jurisdiction over the case because the complaint was filed before it. Thus, it had the authority to proceed and decide the case to the exclusion of the DepEd and the Board of Professional Teachers.

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