Case Digest: Republic v. Pacheo

G.R. No. 178021 : January 25, 2012




Pacheo was a Revenue Attorney IV, Assistant Chief of the Legal Division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue(BIR) in Revenue Region No. 7 (RR7), Quezon City. The BIR issued Revenue Travel Assignment Order (RTAO)No. 25-2002, ordering the reassignment of Pacheo as Assistant Chief, Legal Division from RR7 in Quezon City to RR4 in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Pacheo questioned the reassignment through her Letter addressed to Rene G. Banez, then Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR). She considered her transfer from Quezon City to Pampanga as amounting to a constructive dismissal.

Due to the then inaction of the BIR, Pacheo filed a complaint before the CSC- National Capital Region (CSC-NCR), praying for the nullification of RTAO No. 25-2002. The BIR, through its Deputy Commissioner for Legal and Inspection Group, Edmundo P. Guevara (Guevara), denied Pacheos protest for lack of merit. It contended that her reassignment could not be considered constructive dismissal as she maintained her position as Revenue Attorney IV and was designated as Assistant Chief of Legal Division.

Pacheo appealed to the CSC where the latter granted the same. However, the CSC held that rules and so holds that the withholding by the BIR of her salaries is justified as she is not entitled thereto since she is deemed not to have performed any actual work in the government on the principle of no work no pay. Still not satisfied, Pacheo moved for reconsideration. She argued that the CSC erred in not finding that she was constructively dismissed and, therefore, entitled to back salary. However, the motion was dismissed.

Undaunted, Pacheo sought recourse before the CA via a petition for review. The CA reversed the CSC decision, stating that Pacheo was constructively dismissed. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that Pacheo was constructively dismissed and entitled to backwages


Political Law- transfer or assignment of personnel cannot be done when the same is a preliminary step toward his removal or a scheme to lure him away from his permanent position.

While a temporary transfer or assignment of personnel is permissible even without the employee's prior consent, it cannot be done when the transfer is a preliminary step toward his removal, or a scheme to lure him away from his permanent position, or when it is designed to indirectly terminate his service, or force his resignation. Such a transfer would in effect circumvent the provision which safeguards the tenure of office of those who are in the Civil Service.

Significantly, Section 6, Rule III of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 40, series of 1998, defines constructive dismissal as a situation when an employee quits his work because of the agency heads unreasonable, humiliating, or demeaning actuations which render continued work impossible. Hence, the employee is deemed to have been illegally dismissed. This may occur although there is no diminution or reduction of salary of the employee. It may be a transfer from one position of dignity to a more servile or menial job.

The CSC, through the OSG, contends that the deliberate refusal of Pacheo to report for work either in her original station in Quezon City or her new place of assignment in San Fernando, Pampanga negates her claim of constructive dismissal.

It is clear, however, from E.O. 292, Book V, Title 1, Subtitle A, Chapter 5, Section 26 (7) that there is no such duty to first report to the new place of assignment prior to questioning an alleged invalid reassignment imposed upon an employee. Pacheo was well within her right not to report immediately to RR4, San Fernando, Pampanga, and to question her reassignment.

Reassignments involving a reduction in rank, status or salary violate an employees security of tenure, which is assured by the Constitution, the Administrative Code of 1987, and the Omnibus Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Security of tenure covers not only employees removed without cause, but also cases of unconsented transfers and reassignments, which are tantamount to illegal/constructive removal.

Having ruled that Pacheo was constructively dismissed, is she entitled to reinstatement and back wages? The Court agrees with the CA that she is entitled to reinstatement, but finds Itself unable to sustain the ruling that she is entitled to full back wages and benefits. It is a settled jurisprudence that an illegally dismissed civil service employee is entitled to back salaries but limited only to a maximum period of five (5) years, and not full back salaries from his illegal dismissal up to his reinstatement.

Petition Denied