TRO on termination of provincial workers sought

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BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: Another group of provincial government employees has asked the local court here to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the governor’s executive order (EO) that revoked their appointments and promotions.

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EO 3, issued by Gov. Ruth Padilla, led to the dismissal of some 350 permanent employees of the provincial government who were mostly appointed and promoted by the past administration.

This prompted a group of 14 affected employees to file a 19-page petition dated August 2, 2013 with the regional trial court (RTC) of Nueva Vizcaya for prohibition with application for preliminary injunction against Padilla and 19 other provincial government officials.

Padilla earlier said that the appointments and promotions violated the Local Government Code, the Omnibus Election Code, and civil service laws, rules and regulations.

She pointed out that the appointments were made without convening a Personnel Selection Board (PSB), which should have been created as provided under the law.

Padilla also said that the move to terminate the cited appointments is part of the new provincial leadership’s housekeeping.

As an offshoot of EO 3, the provincial board also enacted the Provincial Appropriation Act of 2013-01, an ordinance providing for the local expenditure program of the province for the fiscal year 2013 and appropriating the amount of P876,202,484.02.

Section 4.10 of the said ordinance has unfunded vacant positions including those filled up by the affected employees appointed and promoted from January 1 to June 30, this year.

The said ordinance eventually resulted in the “delisting” of some 180 employees from the payroll by the provincial budget officer of the province on July 22.

On July 30, Lawyer Voltaire Garcia of the provincial legal office (PLO) also issued an advisory ordering the affected employees to “stop performing their functions as civil servants.”

On the other hand, the employees refuted the allegation that the PSB was not created, saying that the PSB “did function and [the terminated employees]did valid acts as de facto officers [and that]such acts could not be set aside arbitrarily.”

In their petition, the employees sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order against Padilla and 19 other respondents to compel them “to desist from their acts.”

The affected employees also prayed for the issuance of a preliminary injunction to prohibit Padilla from “arbitrarily removing the employees from their permanent plantilla positions and their delisting from the payroll in order to protect their livelihood.”

The employees further asked the court to declare “null and void” EO 3 and the Provincial Appropriation Act of 2013-01, particularly Section 4.10.

”[EO 3 and Section 4.10 of the Appropriation Ordinance 2013-01] is unconstitutional as it is in direct violation of the bill of rights, rights of civil servants, and the security of tenure provision,” the petition stated.

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