Case Digest: PAGCOR v. CA

G.R. No. 185668 : December 13, 2011




For the alleged fund transfer for P4,200,000.00 in favor of "Arnulfo or David Fuentabella." Manahan, Treasury Officer of petitioner Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was interrogated by PAGCOR's Casino Operations Manager, Branch Manager and Senior Chief Security Officer.

A notice of preventive suspension was received by Manahan.After investigation, charging her of serious procedural deviation/gross negligence, arising from the anomalous fund transfer transaction.

Manahan finally received from PAGCOR's Human Resource Department (HRDa letter of even date informing her of the PAGCOR Board of Directors' (BOD) decision to dismiss her from the service.

Manahan filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the PAGCOR BOD's decision to dismiss her from the service. The motion was denied by the PAGCOR BOD for lack of merit. Feeling aggrieved, Manahan appealed from the PAGCOR's rulings to the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

CSC issued Resolution granting herein respondent Manahan's appeal from the decisions of PAGCOR. PAGCOR's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the CSC. CA rendered the assailed Decision affirming in toto the Resolutions of the CSC.

ISSUE: Whether or not Manahan is guilty of the offense charged?

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is sustained.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: civil service law; administrative complaints

As contemplated under the foregoing provision, a formal charge is a written specification of the charge(s) against an employee. While its form may vary, it generally embodies a brief statement of the material and relevant facts constituting the basis of the charge(s); a directive for the employee to answer the charge(s) in writing and under oath, accompanied by his/her evidence; and advice for the employee to indicate in his/her answer whether he/she elects a formal investigation; and a notice that he/she may secure the assistance of a counsel of his/her own choice. A cursory reading of the purported formal charge issued to Manahan shows that the same is defective as it does not contain the abovementioned statements, and it was not issued by the proper disciplining authority. Hence, under the foregoing factual and legal milieu, Manahan is not deemed to have been formally charged.

The petitioner did not refute Manahans allegation in her Written Statement dated April 26, 2004 that she was not allowed to be assisted by counsel during the scheduled meeting with the CIU on April 23, 2004, when the CIU was to ask her questions and take her statement. This stance of PAGCOR was in clear disregard of the respondent's rights protected under the cited Section 16 of CSC Resolution No. 99-1936. While due process in an agency investigation may be limited as compared to due process in criminal proceedings, where however a statute specifically provides for a procedure and grants particular rights to a party under investigation such as in the investigations of persons covered by the Civil Service Rules, these rights shall not be utterly disregarded, especially so when invoked by the party under investigation, as was Manahan, because these rights already form part of a procedural due process.

The finding that PAGCOR failed to comply with the required procedure is further supported by the fact that in PAGCOR's letter dated April 26, 2004, it explained that the investigation process against the respondent had just commenced. If this were the case, i.e., that the investigation process had just began at that time, then the proceedings conducted by PAGCOR were clearly flawed, since a formal charge can be made only after a finding of prima facie case during investigations.

Petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is DENIED.