SC affirms CSC revocation of Aurora Cerilles’ ‘bad faith’ appointments
The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the Civil Service Commission’s December 2003 resolution invalidating 96 appointments made by then-Zamboanga del Sur Governor Aurora Cerilles, because they had replaced longer-serving employees who were not given preference in the provincial government’s reorganization.
In a recent 20-page decision, the SC 2nd Division said the reorganization of the provincial government following the creation of the province of Zamboanga Sibugay was “tainted with bad faith.”
The SC affirmed the CSC’s finding that Cerilles violated the rule on preference and non-hiring of new employees under Sections 4 and 5 of Republic Act Number 6656.
It noted the longer-serving employees were replaced by either new employees or lower-ranked ones. The positions of the terminated employees were not even abolished.
“There is, at the very least, a strong indication that the reorganization was motivated not solely by the interest of economy and efficiency, but as a systematic means to circumvent the security of tenure of the ninety-six (96) employees affected,” the SC said.
In such a case of bad faith, there was “no encroachment” by the CSC on the governor’s discretion to appoint the provincial government’s employees.
“In such instance, the CSC is not actually directing the appointment of another but simply ordering the reinstatement of the illegally removed employee,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
With this decision, the SC lifted a March 17, 2009 temporary restraining order (TRO) and ordered the execution of the CSC resolution in favor of the illegally terminated employees without delay.
As for Cerilles’s appointees, the SC said it was “not unmindful” of their plight. But, it pointed out that “there was technically no vacancy to which the incumbents could have been appointed.”