Case Digest: TIDCP vs. Manalang-Demigilio

G.R. No. 176343 : September 18, 2012

TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, v. MA. ROSARIO S. MANALANG-DEMIGILIO, Respondent.

BERSAMIN, J.:

FACTS:

The Board of Directors of Trade and Investment Development Corporation of the Philippines (TIDCORP), a wholly owned government corporation, formally charged Maria Rosario Manalang-Demigillo (Demigillo), then a Senior Vice-President in TIDCORP, with grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, insubordination, and gross discourtesy in the course of official duties.

TIDCORP alleged that Demigillo engaged in a verbal tussle with Mr. Joel Valdes (Valdes), President and CEO of TIDCORP. Allegedly, Demigillo also sent a memorandum addressed to Valdes which contained discourteous and arrogant words.

Pending the investigation, TIDCORP placed Demigillo under preventive suspension for 90 days.

Demigillo assailed her preventive suspension in the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The CSC ruled that her suspension was not proper because under Section 19(2), Rule II, of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (Uniform Rules), a civil service officer like Demigillo might be preventively suspended by the disciplining authority only if any of the two grounds were present, to wit: (1) there was a possibility that the civil service employee might unduly influence or intimidate potential witnesses against him; or (2) there was a possibility that the civil service employee might tamper the documentary evidence on file in her office. On appeal, the CA affirmed the CSC .

ISSUE: Whether or not Demigillo’s 90- day preventive suspension is proper?

HELD: The 90-day preventive suspension order issued against Demigillo was valid.

POLITICAL LAW


Under Section 51 of the Revised Administrative Code, the imposition of preventive suspension by the proper disciplining authority is authorized provided the charge involves dishonesty, oppression, or grave misconduct, or neglect in the performance of duty, or if there are reasons to believe that the respondent is guilty of charges which would warrant his removal from the service. Section 51 nowhere states or implies that before a preventive suspension may issue there must be proof that the subordinate may unduly influence the witnesses against him or may tamper the documentary evidence on file in her office.

Pursuant to its rule-making authority, the CSC promulgated the Uniform Rules on August 31, 1999. Section 19 and Section 20 of Rule II of the Uniform Rules defined the guidelines in the issuance of an order of preventive suspension and the duration of the suspension It is clear from Section 19, supra, that before an order of preventive suspension pending an investigation may validly issue, only two prerequisites need be shown, namely: (1) that the proper disciplining authority has served a formal charge to the affected officer or employee; and (2) that the charge involves either dishonesty, oppression, grave misconduct, neglect in the performance of duty, or if there are reasons to believe that the respondent is guilty of the charges which would warrant her removal from the service. Proof showing that the subordinate officer or employee may unduly influence the witnesses against her or may tamper the documentary evidence on file in her office is not among the prerequisites.

In Gloria v. Court of Appeals, we stated that preventive suspension pending investigation “is a measure intended to enable the disciplining authority to investigate charges against respondent by preventing the latter from intimidating or in any way influencing witnesses against him.” As such, preventing the subordinate officer or employee from intimidating the witnesses during investigation or from tampering the documentary evidence in her office is a purpose, not a condition, for imposing preventive suspension, as shown in the use of the word “intended.”

GRANTED.


CA REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.

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