CSC v. Yu (G.R. No. 189041; July 31, 2012)


FACTS: In 1992, the national government implemented a devolution program pursuant to R.A. No. 7160, (The Local Government Code of 1991), which affected the Department of Health (DOH) along with other government agencies.

Prior to the devolution, Dr. Fortunata Castillo (hereinafter Dr. Castillo) held the position of Provincial Health Officer II (PHO II) of the DOH Regional Office No. IX in Zamboanga City. Respondent Dr. Agnes Ouida P. Yu (Dr. Yu), on the other hand, held the position of Provincial Health Officer I (PHO I).

Upon the implementation of the devolution program, then Basilan Governor Gerry Salapuddin (Governor Salapuddin) refused to accept Dr. Castillo as the incumbent of the PHO II position that was to be devolved to the local government unit of Basilan, prompting the DOH to retain Dr. Castillo at the Regional Office No. IX in Zamboanga City. She retired in 1996.

Meanwhile, in 1994, or two years after the implementation of the devolution program, Governor Salapuddin appointed Dr. Yu to the PHO II position.

On February 23, 1998, Republic Act No. 8543, otherwise known as ―An Act Converting the Basilan Provincial Hospital in the Municipality of Isabela, Province of Basilan, into a Tertiary Hospital Under the Full Administrative and Technical Supervision of the Department of Health, Increasing the Capacity to One Hundred Beds and Appropriating Funds Therefor,‖ was passed into law whereby the hospital positions previously devolved to the local government unit of Basilan were re-nationalized and reverted to the DOH. The Basilan Provincial Health Hospital was later renamed the Basilan General Hospital, and the position of PHO II was then re-classified to Chief of Hospital II.

While Dr. Yu was among the personnel reverted to the DOH with the re-nationalization of the Basilan General Hospital, she was made to retain her original item of PHO II instead of being given the re-classified position of Chief of Hospital II.

Aggrieved, filed a letter protest before the CSC claiming that she has a vested right to the position of Chief of Hospital II. The CSC denied the protest. On appeal, the CA reversed the CSC.ISSUES: Is the PHO II position previously occupied by Yu a devolved position?

May Dr. Castillo be considered to have abandoned her position for consistently failing to assert her rights thereto?

HELD: As defined, “devolution is the act by which the national government confers power and authority upon the various local government units to perform specific functions and responsibilities.” ADVERTISEMENT: Work from home! Be an online English tutor. Earn at least PHP100/hour.

To ensure the proper implementation of the devolution process, then President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.) No. 503, otherwise known as the ―Rules and Regulations Implementing the Transfer of Personnel and Assets, Liabilities and Records of National Government Agencies Whose Functions Are To Be Devolved To The Local Government Units And For Other Related Purposes, which laid down the following pertinent guidelines with respect to the transfer of personnel: “The absorption of the NGA personnel by the LGU shall be mandatory, in which case, the LGUs shall create the equivalent positions of the affected personnel except when it is not administratively viable.”

On the basis of the foregoing, it was mandatory for Governor Salapuddin to absorb the position of PHO II, as well as its incumbent, Dr. Fortunata Castillo. Highlighting the absence of discretion is the use of the word “shall” both in Section 17 (i) of R.A. No. 7160 and in Section 2(a)(2) of E.O. No. 503, which connotes a mandatory order. The only instance that the LGU concerned may choose not to absorb the NGA personnel is when absorption is not administratively viable, meaning, it would result to duplication of functions, in which case, the NGA personnel shall be retained by the national government.

Had Dr. Castillo felt aggrieved by her detail to the DOH Regional Office, she was not without recourse. The law afforded her the right to appeal her case to the CSC, but she had not seen fit to question the justification for her detail. Hence, the appointment of Dr. Yu to the position PHO II.


Abandonment of an office is the voluntary relinquishment of an office by the holder with the intention of terminating his possession and control thereof. In order to constitute abandonment of office, it must be total and under such circumstance as clearly to indicate an absolute relinquishment. There must be a complete abandonment of duties of such continuance that the law will infer a relinquishment. Abandonment of duties is a voluntary act; it springs from and is accompanied by deliberation and freedom of choice. There are, therefore, two essential elements of abandonment: first, an intention to abandon and, second, an overt or 'external' act by which the intention is carried into effect.

By no stretch of the imagination can Dr. Castillo's seeming lackadaisical attitude towards protecting her rights be construed as an abandonment of her position resulting in her having intentionally and voluntarily vacated the same.

We rule, therefore, under the attendant circumstances of the case, that with Dr. Castillo's re-absorption by the DOH which appears to bear the former's approval, her devolved position with the LGU of Basilan was left vacant. Thus, we hold that Dr. Yu was validly appointed to the position of PHO II in 1994 and, consequently, acquired a vested right to its re-classified designation – Chief of Hospital II.