Published 7 August 2023, The Daily Tribune
For the concluding part of the article on the propriety of appeal by the Civil Service Commission or CSC, I will discuss another case that the Court revisited in Fuentes, and how the Supreme Court clarified the guidelines on the legal standing of the CSC to appeal a reversal of its decisions before the Supreme Court.
The Case of Ombudsman vs Gutierrez, G.R. 189100, 21 June 2017 (Gutierrez)
Gutierrez cited the previous cases of National Police Commission vs Mamauag (G.R. 149999, 12 August 2005) and Pleyto v. Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (G.R. 169982, 23 November 2007). Both cases specified that the government party appealing must not be the quasi-judicial body that meted out the administrative sanction but the prosecuting body in the administrative case.
Unlike Dacoycoy and Mathay Jr. where the CSC was the appellant, it was the Ombudsman who filed the appeal in Gutierrez. Gutierrez clothed the Ombudsman with legal standing to intervene on appeal in administrative cases that it has resolved but disallowed other quasi-judicial bodies (such as CSC) the same privilege, contending that the difference in treatment is owing to the Ombudsman’s special dual role of being a disciplining authority and prosecuting agency.
Such notwithstanding, the Court, in Fuentes, stated that it finds no real difference between the Ombudsman’s role of being both a disciplinary authority and an agency imbued with prosecutorial powers vis-à-vis the CSC’s role as disciplining authority when it comes to both quasi-judicial agencies’ exercise of administrative power. It echoed the opinion of Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo that the variance in legal effects and procedural framework in the Ombudsman’s roles in administrative and criminal proceedings warrant different treatments. While the Ombudsman’s prosecutorial powers have specific application to criminal cases, the legal standing of the Ombudsman and the CSC to challenge a reversal of their respective rulings in administrative cases comes from their status as disciplining authority.
In view of the foregoing discussions, the Supreme Court, in Fuentes, clarified the rules on CSC’s legal standing to appeal a reversal of its decisions as follows: