Case Digest: Salva v. Valle

G.R. No. 193773 : April 2, 2013

TERESITA L. SALVA, Petitioner,v. FLAVIANA M. VALLE, Respondent.



Petitioner Teresita L. Salva, President of Palawan State University (PSU), issued Office Order No. 061 reassigning four (4) PSU faculty members of the College of Arts and Humanities to various Extramural Studies Centers. She assigned respondent Flaviana M. Valle at Brookes Point, Palawan.

When respondent did not report to her new assignment, petitioner issued a memorandum directing respondent to explain in writing why no disciplinary action should be taken against her. On June 30, 2004, William M. Herrera, Director of PSU-Brookes Point, informed petitioner that respondent merely reported for two to three hours on June 15, 2004 and did not return since then. Thus, petitioner issued another memorandum directing respondent to explain why she should not be administratively charged with insubordination for failure to comply with the order of reassignment. Again, respondent declared that her failure to report to her new station was due to her poor financial status.

Finding respondents explanation unsatisfactory, petitioner issued Administrative Order No. 001 dated July 5, 2004 imposing upon respondent the penalty of one (1) month suspension from office without pay.

When respondents suspension expired, on August 5, 2004, petitioner issued another memorandum directing respondent to immediately report at Brookes Point. Petitioner informed respondent that she, her husband and minor children are entitled to traveling and freight expenses. Respondent filed another motion for reconsideration stressing that her relocation would result in financial distress to her family. Again, she requested that she remain at the main campus. Hence, petitioner issued another memorandum directing respondent to explain within 72 hours why she should not be administratively charged.

Instead of tendering an explanation, respondent sent petitioner a letter dated August 30, 2004 stating that she has appealed petitioners order of reassignment and suspension to the PSU Board of Regents. She requested for the deferment of any action against her. However, petitioner claimed that respondent failed to furnish her a copy of the notice of appeal. Thus, on September 13, 2004, petitioner issued Administrative Order No. 003 finding respondent guilty of insubordination for the second time and imposing upon her the supreme penalty of dismissal from service.

Respondent appealed to the PSU Board seeking nullification of petitioners orders. She argued that she was unceremoniously dismissed without cause and due process and that her dismissal was flawed due to procedural infirmities such as lack of formal complaint and hearing.

The PSU Board issued a Resolution where it confirmed petitioners orders. Subsequently, on May 6, 2005, respondent received the CHED memoranda dated November 16, 2004 and February 11, 2005 stating that due process was not observed. The CHED, then, recommended the deferment of the dismissal order to give way to the proper observance of the rules of procedure.

When the PSU Board did not act on the said recommendation, on July 14, 2005 or almost five (5) months from her receipt of the referendum, respondent filed her Memorandum of Appeal to the CSC. The CSC granted the appeal. The CSC found that respondent was not afforded due process as there was no formal charge issued against her before she was adjudged guilty of insubordination and meted the penalty of dismissal.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent has been afforded due process


Political Law- A formal charge issued prior to the imposition of administrative sanctions must conform to the requirements of the law

Section 16, Rule II of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (URACCS) provides:

SEC. 16.Formal Charge. After a finding of a prima facie case, the disciplining authority shall formally charge the person complained of. The formal charge shall contain a specification of charge(s), a brief statement of material or relevant facts, accompanied by certified true copies of the documentary evidence, if any, sworn statements covering the testimony of witnesses, a directive to answer the charge(s) in writing under oath in not less than seventy-two (72) hours from receipt thereof, an advice for the respondent to indicate in his answer whether or not he elects a formal investigation of the charge(s), and a notice that he is entitled to be assisted by a counsel of his choice.

If the respondent has submitted his comment and counter-affidavits during the preliminary investigation, he shall be given the opportunity to submit additional evidence.

The disciplining authority shall not entertain requests for clarification, bills of particulars or motions to dismiss which are obviously designed to delay the administrative proceedings. If any of these pleadings are interposed by the respondent, the same shall be considered as an answer and shall be evaluated as such.

We have held that if the purported "formal charge" does not contain the foregoing, it cannot be said that the employee concerned has been formally charged.

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 Memorandum dated August 24, 2004 issued by petitioner to respondent prior to Administrative Order No. 003 dated September 13, 2004 imposing on her the penalty of dismissal, is therefore defective as it did not contain the statements required by Section 16 of the URACCS.

Such wanton disregard of the proper procedure in administrative investigations under the civil service rules cannot be countenanced. For a valid dismissal from the government service, the requirements of due process must be complied with. Indeed, even the filing by respondent of a motion for reconsideration of the decision to dismiss her could not have cured the violation of her right to due process.

Without a formal charge and proper investigation on the charges imputed on the respondent, the respondent did not get the chance to sufficiently defend herself; and more importantly, the petitioner, the CSC and the courts could not have had the chance to reasonably ascertain the truth which the CSC rules aim to accomplish. It is to be noted that respondent had repeatedly requested the petitioner to reconsider the reassignment order because of the financial hardship it would cause her family, explaining that her meager take-home pay was due to the loans she previously availed to finance her post-graduate (masters degree) studies. Respondent should have been given the opportunity to prove her defenses against the charge of insubordination and present evidence to refute petitioners claim that her reassignment was reasonable, necessary and not impelled by improper considerations.