MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a Civil Service Commission (CSC) resolution prohibiting local government executives from making “mass appointments” before they leave their post.
Voting 13-0, the SC justices said CSC's Resolution No. 010988, which prohibits mass appointments by outgoing officials at the local government level, was valid. The 20-page decision was penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
The case stemmed from the 2001 local elections involving incumbent Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, who lost to Mayor Agustin Perdices.
Remollo promoted 15 city hall employees and regularized 74 others before his term as mayor ended.
Perdices, upon assumption, immediately announced that he would not honor Remollo's appointments, and ordered the city treasurer and administrator to refrain from paying the salaries of the 89 employees.
On August 1, 2001, CSC affirmed Perdices' move through Resolution No. 010988.
Fifty-two of the 89 employees filed the petition to the SC to stop the CSC from either nullifying their promotion or disqualifying them from government service.
“We find that the Civil Service Commission has the authority to issue CSC Resolution No. 010988 and that the invalidation of petitioners’ appointments was warranted,” the SC decision noted.
The SC stressed that the CSC, as the central personnel agency of the government, has statutory authority to establish rules and regulations to promote efficiency and professionalism in the civil service. Reviewing appointments is one of the CSC's mandates.
The SC agreed that the CSC resolution aptly discourages incumbent candidates from issuing appointments, including promotions, as a tool for political patronage or as reward for services rendered to the outgoing local officials.
The SC pointed out that Remollo issued the 89 original and promotional appointments on 3 separate dates, but within a 10-day period, in the same month that he left office.
Nonetheless, the SC made an exception: Not all mass appointments are prohibited, as stated in CSC Resolution No. 010988. Personnel movements are acceptable as long as the approving authority could prove that the appointments have undergone the regular screening process; that the appointee is qualified; that there is a need to fill up the vacancy immediately, and; that the appointments are not in bulk.