Career, non-career positions in government

The Civil Service Law classifies the positions in the civil service into career and non-career service positions. Career positions are characterized by: (1) entrance based on merit and fitness to be determined as far as practicable by competitive examinations, or based on highly technical qualifications; (2) opportunity for advancement to higher career positions; and (3) security of tenure.[36]

The Career Service shall include[37]:
(1) Open Career positions for appointment to which prior qualification in an appropriate examination is required;

(2) Closed Career positions which are scientific, or highly technical in nature; these include the faculty and academic staff of state colleges and universities, and scientific and technical positions in scientific or research institutions which shall establish and maintain their own merit systems;

(3) Positions in the Career Executive Service; namely, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Director, Assistant Bureau Director, Regional Director, Assistant Regional Director, Chief of Department Service and other officers of equivalent rank as may be identified by the Career Executive Service Board, all of whom are appointed by the President;

(4) Career officers, other than those in the Career Executive Service, who are appointed by the President, such as the Foreign Service Officers in the Department of Foreign Affairs;

(5) Commissioned officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces which shall maintain a separate merit system;

(6) Personnel of government-owned or controlled corporations whether performing governmental or proprietary functions, who do not fall under the non-career service; and

(7) Permanent laborers, whether skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled. (Emphasis supplied)
On the other hand, non-career positions are defined by the Administrative Code of 1987[38] as follows:
SEC. 9. Non-Career Service. – The Non-Career Service shall be characterized by (1) entrance on bases other than those of the usual tests of merit and fitness utilized for the career service; and (2) tenure which is limited to a period specified by law, or which is coterminous with that of the appointing authority or subject to his pleasure, or which is limited to the duration of a particular project for which purpose employment was made.

The Non-Career Service shall include:

(1) Elective officials and their personal or confidential staff;

(2) Secretaries and other officials of Cabinet rank who hold their positions at the pleasure of the President and their personal or confidential staff(s);

(3) Chairman and members of commissions and boards with fixed terms of office and their personal or confidential staff;

(4) Contractual personnel or those whose employment in the government is in accordance with a special contract to undertake a specific work or job, requiring special or technical skills not available in the employing agency, to be accomplished within a specific period, which in no case shall exceed one year, and performs or accomplishes the specific work or job, under his own responsibility with a minimum of direction and supervision from the hiring agency; and

(5) Emergency and seasonal personnel. (Emphasis supplied)

As can be gleaned, a coterminous employment falls under the non-career service classification of positions in the Civil Service,[1] its tenure being limited or specified by law, or coterminous with that of the appointing authority, or at the latter’s pleasure. Under R.A. No. 9286 in relation to Section 14 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987,[2] the coterminous appointment of the General Manager of a water district is based on the majority vote of the BOD and whose continuity in the service is based on the latter’s trust and confidence or co-existent with its tenure.[3]


[1] Orcullo, Jr. v. Civil Service Commission, 410 Phil. 335, 339 (2001).

[2] CSC Resolution No. 91-1631 dated December 27, 1991.

[3] Civil Service Commission (CSC) v. Pililla Water District (G.R. No. 190147, March 05, 2013).

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