JACINTO, ET.AL. vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS

Posted: May 1, 2015 in criminal procedure cases, labor relations
Tags: , , ,

G.R. No. 124540.  November 14, 1997

MERLINDA JACINTO, ET.AL. vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS; THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; and THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS, respondents.

By:Wea Matriz

 

FACTS: Petitioners are public school teachers from various schools in Metropolitan Manila.  They incurred unauthorized absences in connection with the mass actions then staged. DECS Sec. Cariño immediately issued a return-to-work order, but it was ignored by petitioners. Sec. Cariño issued formal charges and preventive suspension orders against them.  They were administratively charged with gross misconduct; gross neglect of duty, etc. for joining unauthorized mass actions; ignoring report-to-work directives; etc. During the investigation, petitioners did not file their answers or controvert the charges against them.  As a consequence, Sec. Cariño, in his decisions found them guilty as charged and imposed the penalty of dismissal except Jacinto which is and Agustin who were meted only six (6) months suspension.

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB): dismissed the appeals for lack of merit

CSC: set aside the Orders of the MSPB; found the petitioners (except Merlinda Jacinto) guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service; imposed upon them the penalty of six (6) months suspension without pay; and automatically reinstated them to the service without payment of back salaries; the CSC found her guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations; imposed upon her the penalty of reprimand; and automatically reinstated her in the service without payment of back salaries

CA: Affirmed decision of CSC

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether civil servants are guilty of grave misconduct in participating in mass actions.

HELD: Yes. The terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes. Workers in the public sector do not enjoy the right to strike, the Constitution itself qualifies its exercise with the proviso “in accordance with law.”  This is a clear manifestation that the state may, by law, regulate the use of this right, or even deny certain sectors such right. The Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed.

The teachers have given cause for their suspension, for being absent in their classes and joining in the mass actions. They were not fully innocent of the charges against them although they were eventually found guilty only of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and not grave misconduct or other offense warranting their dismissal from the service; “being found liable for a lesser offense is not equivalent to exoneration.” In the case of Merlinda Jacinto, there was a finding that there was no proof that she joined the unlawful mass actions.

DISPOSITIVE: Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed with modification.

LABREL CASE DIGEST POOL / ATTORNEY JHONELLE ESTRADA / MONDAYS / 5:30 PM TO 8:30 PM / NEW ERA UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW

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