PCSO v. Lapid (G.R. No. 191940; April 12, 2011)


FACTS: An administrative complaint was filed against the Respondent for allegedly confronting, badmouthing and shouting invectives at Mr. Guemo, in the presence of other employees and seeking assistance from the PSCO. The PCSO Board of Directors found her guilty of discourtesy in the course of official duties and grave misconduct and imposed on her the penalty of dismissal from service.

On appeal with the CSC, the Commission dismissed the respondent’s appeal for being moot and academic. Moreover, they ruled that the respondent is a casual employee which means that she is not entitled to security of tenure. However, the CA reversed the decision of the Commission by reinstating the respondent in the service until the expiration of her casual employment.

ISSUE: Did the CA gravely err in granting the respondent’s petition, in effect, reversing the CSC’s resolutions.

HELD: A new ruling recognizes that casual employees are covered by the security of tenure and cannot be terminated within the period of his employment except for cause. Despite this new ruling, it is not the intention of the Court to make the status of a casual employee at par with that of a regular employee, who enjoys permanence of employment. The rule is still that casual employment will cease automatically at the end of the period unless renewed as stated in the Plantilla of Casual Employment. Casual employees may also be terminated anytime though subject to certain conditions or qualifications. Thus, they may be laid-off anytime before the expiration of the employment period provided any of the following occurs:(1) when their services are no longer needed; (2) funds are no longer available; (3) the project has already been completed/finished; or (4) their performance are below par.Equally important, they are entitled to due process especially if they are to be removed for more serious causes or for causes other than the reasons mentioned in CSC Form No. 001. The reason for this is that their termination from the service could carry a penalty affecting their rights and future employment in the government.

In the case at bench, the CSC itself found that Lapid was denied due process as she was never formally charged with the administrative offenses of Discourtesy in the Course of Official Duties and Grave Misconduct, for which she was dismissed from the service. To somehow remedy the situation, the petitioners mentioned in their Memorandum before the CA that there was no reason anymore to pursue the administrative charge against Lapid and to investigate further as this was superseded by Memorandum dated September 14, 2005 recommending the termination of respondent Lapid’s casual employment. They pointed out that this was precisely the reason why no Formal Charge was issued. Clearly, the action of petitioners clearly violated Lapid’s basic rights as a casual employee.

Therefore, the petition is denied and the respondent is allowed to continue rendering services as teller of PCSO and is also entitled to payment of backwages. DENIED.