GSIS vs. Vergara Digest

G.R. No. 202914 : September 26, 2012



Respondent Heidi Chua (Chua) was employed as a Social Insurance Specialist in the Membership Division of petitioner Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). One of her duties was to update the Member’s Service Profile in the GSIS Membership Database, which includes the salary updates of GSIS members to be used in the determination of the amount for application loans. For this task, Chua was assigned a computer terminal that can only be accessed using her ID and an operator’s code to avoid unauthorized alteration and tampering of encoded records.

An administrative complaint charging grave misconduct, dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service was filed against Chua in connection with the false alteration by “padding” the salary updates of two (2) applicants, enabling them to receive salary loans in excess of what they were eligible to borrow.

The GSIS opined that Chua’s act of encoding false information in a computer terminal, to which she has sole access, was sufficient evidence of her concerted participation in the fraudulent scheme to defraud the GSIS. The GSIS found Chua liable and ordered her dismissal. The CSC affirmed the GSIS.

The CA modified the rulings of the GSIS and of the CSC. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is substantial evidence to support the administrative charges against Chua?

HELD: The Court denies the petition.

POLITICAL LAW: grave misconduct

The GSIS failed to adduce substantial evidence that the respondent was part of the fraudulent scheme that supported the finding of grave misconduct, dishonesty and reasonable violation of office rules and regulations against her, and the imposition of the penalty of dismissal from the service. The records do not contain any proof that the respondent’s encoding of false salary updates was intentional and had been made in bad faith.

“Corruption as an element of grave misconduct consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others.” All these, taken together, only amount to simple misconduct.

Heidi R. Chua is ordered SUSPENDED for one (I) year without pay, as penalty for the offenses of simple misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of reasonable office rules.