CA junks dismissal order vs PSC official

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THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed a Civil Service Commission (CSC) decision ordering the rein-statement of an executive director of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) who was sacked for signing a contract with a telecommunications company without proper authority in 2005.

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In a 14-page decision penned by Associate Justice Agnes Reyes-Carpio, the CA’s Special Third Division denied the petition for review filed by the PSC as it affirmed the twin resolutions of the CSC dated March 14, 2014 and August 12, 2014 in the case of Executive Director III Edgardo Mateo.

Records revealed that on December 13, 2004, Mateo was appointed to the PSC under former Chair-man Eric Buhain.

The appointment was validated by CSC Chairman Karina Constantino-David.

Later, the leadership of the PSC was taken over by Chairman William Ramirez who issued a memoran-dum, dated July 4, 2005, directing Mateo to explain why no administrative, civil nr criminal action shall be taken and filed against him for entering into a two-year contract of lease with Smart Communica-tions Inc. for the establishment of a cell site in the premises of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex without authority from the chairman and/or the PSC Board.

After finding Mateo’s explanation unsatisfactory, the PSC through Ramirez sent a Notice of Termina-tion on August 3, 2005 as it informed him that he was found guilty of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct, among others.

Mateo filed an appeal addressed to then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo alleging that he was a victim of office politics.

The PSC filed a case against Mateo with the Ombudsman in September 2005 but was dismissed as it was based only on allegations.

The Office of the President (OP) endorsed the case to the CSC, which ruled in Mateo’s favor.

In its decision, the CSC ruled that Mateo should be reinstated with payment of back salaries and other benefits not exceeding five years, without prejudice, however, to the re-filing of the case against him.

The commission also declared a motion for extension to conduct reinvestigation of current PSC Chair-man Ricardo Garcia to be functus oficio. This prompted the PSC to elevate the case to the appellate tribunal.

In its June 8, 2015 ruling, the CA held that the PSC deprived Mateo his right to due process when it terminated him without filing a formal charge against him.

According to the CA, the PSC is of the opinion that “a retroactive application of the RRACCS (Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service) would result [in]injustice against it as an institution.”

Concurring with the verdict were Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Pedro Corales.

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