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539 Phil. 677


[ G.R. NO. 170132, December 06, 2006 ]




In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and its President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia (Garcia, for short) assail and seek to nullify the Decision[1] dated June 16, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 87220, as reiterated in its Resolution[2] of October 18, 2005 denying Garcia's motion for reconsideration.

The recourse is cast against the following setting:

A four-day October 2004 concerted demonstration, rallies and en masse walkout waged/held in front of the GSIS main office in Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, started it all. Forming a huge part of the October 4 to October 7, 2004 mass action participants were GSIS personnel, among them members of the herein respondent Kapisanan Ng Mga Manggagawa sa GSIS ("KMG" or the "Union"), a public sector union of GSIS rank-and-file employees. Contingents from other government agencies joined causes with the GSIS group. The mass action's target appeared to have been herein petitioner Garcia and his management style. While the Mayor of Pasay City allegedly issued a rally permit, the absence of the participating GSIS employees was not covered by a prior approved leave.[3]

On or about October 10, 2004, the manager of the GSIS Investigating Unit issued a memorandum directing 131 union and non-union members to show cause why they should not be charged administratively for their participation in said rally. In reaction, KMG's counsel, Atty. Manuel Molina, sought reconsideration of said directive on the ground, among others, that the subject employees resumed work on October 8, 2004 in obedience to the return-to-work order thus issued. The plea for reconsideration was, however, effectively denied by the filing, on October 25, 2004, of administrative charges against some 110 KMG members for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.[4]

What happened next is summarized by the CA in its challenged decision of June 16, 2005, albeit the herein petitioners would except from some of the details of the appellate court's narration:
Ignoring said formal charges, KMG, thru its President, Albert Velasco, commenced the instant suit on November 2, 2004, with the filing of the Petition for Prohibition at bench. On the ground that its members should not be made to explain why they supported their union's cause, petitioner [KMG] faulted respondent [Garcia] with blatant disregard of Civil Service Resolution No. 021316, otherwise known as the Guidelines for Prohibited Mass Action, Section 10 of which exhorts government agencies to "harness all means within their capacity to accord due regard and attention to employees" grievances and facilitate their speedy and amicable disposition through the use of grievance machinery or any other modes of settlement sanctioned by law and existing civil service rules." Two supplements to the foregoing petition were eventually filed by KMG. The first, ... apprised [the CA] of the supposed fact that its Speaker, Atty. Molina, had been placed under preventive suspension for 90 days and that the formal charges thus filed will not only deprive its members of the privileges and benefits due them but will also disqualify them from promotion, step increment adjustments and receipt of monetary benefits, including their 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses. The second, xxx manifested that, on December 17, 2004, respondent [Garcia] served a spate of additional formal charges against 230 of KMG's members for their participation in the aforesaid grievance demonstrations.

In his December 14, 2004 comment to the foregoing petition, respondent [Garcia] averred that the case at bench was filed by an unauthorized representative in view of the fact that Albert Velasco had already been dropped from the GSIS rolls and, by said token, had ceased to be a member – much less the President – of KMG. Invoking the rule against forum shopping, respondent [Garcia] called [the CA's] attention to the supposed fact that the allegations in the subject petition merely duplicated those already set forth in two petitions for certiorari and prohibition earlier filed by Albert Velasco .... Because said petitions are, in point of fact, pending before this court as CA-G.R. SP Nos. 86130 and 86365, respondent [Garcia] prayed for the dismissal of the petition at bench ....[5] (Words in bracket added.)
It appears that pending resolution by the CA of the KMG petition for prohibition in this case, the GSIS management proceeded with the investigation of the administrative cases filed. As represented in a pleading before the CA, as of May 18, 2005, two hundred seven (207) out of the two hundred seventy eight (278) cases filed had been resolved, resulting in the exoneration of twenty (20) respondent-employees, the reprimand of one hundred eighty two (182) and the suspension for one month of five (5).[6]

On June 16, 2005, the CA rendered the herein assailed decision[7] holding that Garcia's "filing of administrative charges against 361 of [KMG's] members is tantamount to grave abuse of discretion which may be the proper subject of the writ of prohibition." Dispositively, the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition [of KMG] is GRANTED and respondent [Winston F. Garcia] is hereby PERPETUALLY ENJOINED from implementing the issued formal charges and from issuing other formal charges arising from the same facts and events.

SO ORDERED. (Emphasis in the original)
Unable to accept the above ruling and the purported speculative factual and erroneous legal premises holding it together, petitioner Garcia sought reconsideration. In its equally assailed Resolution[8] of October 18, 2005, however, the appellate court denied reconsideration of its decision.

Hence, this recourse by the petitioners ascribing serious errors on the appellate court in granting the petition for prohibition absent an instance of grave abuse of authority on their part.

We resolve to GRANT the petition.

It should be stressed right off that the civil service encompasses all branches and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) with original charters, like the GSIS,[9] or those created by special law.[10] As such, employees of covered GOCCs are part of the civil service system and are subject to circulars, rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on discipline, attendance and general terms/conditions of employment, inclusive of matters involving self-organization, strikes, demonstrations and like concerted actions. In fact, policies established on public sector unionism and rules issued on mass action have been noted and cited by the Court in at least a case.[11] Among these issuances is Executive Order (EO) No. 180, series of 1987, providing guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. Relevant also is CSC Resolution No. 021316 which provides rules on prohibited concerted mass actions in the public sector.

There is hardly any dispute about the formal charges against the 278 affected GSIS employees – a mix of KMG union and non-union members - having arose from their having gone on unauthorized leave of absence (AWOL) for at least a day or two in the October 4 to 7, 2004 stretch to join the ranks of the demonstrators /rallyists at that time. As stated in each of the formal charges, the employee's act of attending, joining, participating and taking part in the strike/rally is a transgression of the rules on strike in the public sector. The question that immediately comes to the fore, therefore, is whether or not the mass action staged by or participated in by said GSIS employees partook of a strike or prohibited concerted mass action. If in the affirmative, then the denounced filing of the administrative charges would be prima facie tenable, inasmuch as engaging in mass actions resulting in work stoppage or service disruption constitutes, in the minimum, the punishable offense of acting prejudicial to the best interest of the service.[12] If in the negative, then such filing would indeed smack of arbitrariness and justify the issuance of a corrective or preventive writ.

Petitioners assert that the filing of the formal charges are but a natural consequence of the service-disrupting rallies and demonstrations staged during office hours by the absenting GSIS employees, there being appropriate issuances outlawing such kinds of mass action. On the other hand, the CA, agreeing with the respondent's argument, assumed the view and held that the organized demonstrating employees did nothing more than air their grievances in the exercise of their "broader rights of free expression"[13] and are, therefore, not amenable to administrative sanctions. For perspective, following is what the CA said:
Although the filing of administrative charges against [respondent KMG's] members is well within [petitioner Garcia's] official [disciplinary] prerogatives, [his] exercise of the power vested under Section 45 of Republic Act No. 8291 was tainted with arbitrariness and vindictiveness against which prohibition was sought by [respondent]. xxx the fact that the subject mass demonstrations were directed against [Garcia's] supposed mismanagement of the financial resources of the GSIS, by and of itself, renders the filing of administrative charges against [KMG's] member suspect. More significantly, we find the gravity of the offenses and the sheer number of persons ... charged administratively to be, at the very least, antithetical to the best interest of the service....

It matters little that, instead of the 361 alleged by petitioner, only 278 charges were actually filed [and] in the meantime, disposed of and of the said number, 20 resulted to exoneration, 182 to reprimand and 5 to the imposition of a penalty of one month suspension. Irrespective of their outcome, the severe penalties prescribed for the offense with which petitioner's members were charged, to our mind, bespeak of bellicose and castigatory reaction .... The fact that most of the employees [Garcia] administratively charged were eventually meted with what appears to be a virtual slap on the wrist even makes us wonder why respondent even bothered to file said charges at all. xxx.

Alongside the consequences of the right of government employees to form, join or assist employees organization, we have already mentioned how the broader rights of free expression cast its long shadow over the case. xxx we find [petitioner Garcia's] assailed acts, on the whole, anathema to said right which has been aptly characterized as preferred, one which stands on a higher level than substantive economic and other liberties, the matrix of other important rights of our people. xxx.[14] (Underscoring and words in bracket added; citations omitted.)
While its decision and resolution do not explicitly say so, the CA equated the right to form associations with the right to engage in strike and similar activities available to workers in the private sector. In the concrete, the appellate court concluded that inasmuch as GSIS employees are not barred from forming, joining or assisting employees' organization, petitioner Garcia could not validly initiate charges against GSIS employees waging or joining rallies and demonstrations notwithstanding the service-disruptive effect of such mass action. Citing what Justice Isagani Cruz said in Manila Public School Teachers Association [MPSTA] v. Laguio, Jr.,[15] the appellate court declared:
It is already evident from the aforesaid provisions of Resolution No. 021316 that employees of the GSIS are not among those specifically barred from forming, joining or assisting employees organization such as [KMG]. If only for this ineluctable fact, the merit of the petition at bench is readily discernible.[16]
We are unable to lend concurrence to the above CA posture. For, let alone the fact that it ignores what the Court has uniformly held all along, the appellate court's position is contrary to what Section 4 in relation to Section 5 of CSC Resolution No. 021316[17] provides. Besides, the appellate court's invocation of Justice Cruz's opinion in MPSTA is clearly off-tangent, the good Justice's opinion thereat being a dissent. It may be, as the appellate court urged, that the freedom of expression and assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances stand on a level higher than economic and other liberties. Any suggestion, however, about these rights as including the right on the part of government personnel to strike ought to be, as it has been, trashed. We have made this abundantly clear in our past determinations. For instance, in Alliance of Government Workers v. Minister of Labor and Employment,[18] a case decided under the aegis of the 1973 Constitution, an en banc Court declared that it would be unfair to allow employees of government corporations to resort to concerted activity with the ever present threat of a strike to wring benefits from Government. Then came the 1987 Constitution expressly guaranteeing, for the first time, the right of government personnel to self-organization[19] to complement the provision according workers the right to engage in "peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law."[20]

It was against the backdrop of the aforesaid provisions of the 1987 Constitution that the Court resolved Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals.[21] In it, we held, citing MPSTA v. Laguio, Jr.,[22] that employees in the public service may not engage in strikes or in concerted and unauthorized stoppage of work; that the right of government employees to organize is limited to the formation of unions or associations, without including the right to strike.

Jacinto v. Court of Appeals[23] came next and there we explained:
Specifically, the right of civil servants to organize themselves was positively recognized in Association of Court of Appeals Employees vs. Ferrer-Caleja. But, as in the exercise of the rights of free expression and of assembly, there are standards for allowable limitations such as the legitimacy of the purpose of the association, [and] the overriding considerations of national security . . . .

As regards the right to strike, the Constitution itself qualifies its exercise with the provision "in accordance with law." This is a clear manifestation that the state may, by law, regulate the use of this right, or even deny certain sectors such right. Executive Order 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right of government workers to organize, for instance, implicitly endorsed an earlier CSC circular which "enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions, all government officers and employees from staging strikes, demonstrations, mass leaves, walkouts and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service" by stating that the Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in government service shall be observed. (Emphasis and words in bracket added; citations omitted)
And in the fairly recent case of Gesite v. Court of Appeals,[24] the Court defined the limits of the right of government employees to organize in the following wise:
It is relevant to state at this point that the settled rule in this jurisdiction is that employees in the public service may not engage in strikes, mass leaves, walkouts, and other forms of mass action that will lead in the temporary stoppage or disruption of public service. The right of government employees to organize is limited to the formation of unions or associations only, without including the right to strike,
adding that public employees going on disruptive unauthorized absences to join concerted mass actions may be held liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Significantly, 1986 Constitutional Commission member Eulogio Lerum, answering in the negative the poser of whether or not the right of government employees to self-organization also includes the right to strike, stated:
When we proposed this amendment providing for self organization of government employees, it does not mean that because they have the right to organize, they have also the right to strike. That is a different matter. xxx[25]
With the view we take of the events that transpired on October 4-7, 2004, what respondent's members launched or participated in during that time partook of a strike or, what contextually amounts to the same thing, a prohibited concerted activity. The phrase "prohibited concerted activity" refers to any collective activity undertaken by government employees, by themselves or through their employees' organization, with the intent of effecting work stoppage or service disruption in order to realize their demands or force concessions, economic or otherwise; it includes mass leaves, walkouts, pickets and acts of similar nature.[26] Indeed, for four straight days, participating KMG members and other GSIS employees staged a walk out and waged or participated in a mass protest or demonstration right at the very doorstep of the GSIS main office building. The record of attendance[27] for the period material shows that, on the first day of the protest, 851 employees, or forty eight per cent (48%) of the total number of employees in the main office (1,756) took to the streets during office hours, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.,[28] leaving the other employees to fend for themselves in an office where a host of transactions take place every business day. On the second day, 707 employees left their respective work stations, while 538 participated in the mass action on the third day. A smaller number, i.e., 306 employees, but by no means an insignificant few, joined the fourth day activity.

To say that there was no work disruption or that the delivery of services remained at the usual level of efficiency at the GSIS main office during those four (4) days of massive walkouts and wholesale absences would be to understate things. And to place the erring employees beyond the reach of administrative accountability would be to trivialize the civil service rules, not to mention the compelling spirit of professionalism exacted of civil servants by the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. [29]

The appellate court made specific reference to the "parliament of the streets," obviously to lend concurrence to respondent's pretension that the gathering of GSIS employees on October 4-7, 2004 was an "assembly of citizens" out only to air grievances, not a striking crowd. According to the respondent, a strike presupposes a mass action undertaken to press for some economic demands or secure additional material employment benefits.

We are not convinced.

In whatever name respondent desires to call the four-day mass action in October 2004, the stubborn fact remains that the erring employees, instead of exploring non-crippling activities during their free time, had taken a disruptive approach to attain whatever it was they were specifically after. As events evolved, they assembled in front of the GSIS main office building during office hours and staged rallies and protests, and even tried to convince others to join their cause, thus provoking work stoppage and service-delivery disruption, the very evil sought to be forestalled by the prohibition against strikes by government personnel.[30]

The Court can concede hypothetically that the protest rally and gathering in question did not involve some specific material demand. But then the absence of such economic-related demand, even if true, did not, under the premises, make such mass action less of a prohibited concerted activity. For, as articulated earlier, any collective activity undertaken by government employees with the intent of effecting work stoppage or service disruption in order to realize their demands or force concessions, economic or otherwise, is a prohibited concerted mass action[31] and doubtless actionable administratively. Bangalisan even went further to say the following: "[i]n the absence of statute, public employees do not have the right to engage in concerted work stoppages for any purpose."

To petitioner Garcia, as President and General Manager of GSIS, rests the authority and responsibility, under Section 45 of Republic Act No. 8291, the GSIS Act of 1997, to remove, suspend or otherwise discipline GSIS personnel for cause.[32] At bottom then, petitioner Garcia, by filing or causing the filing of administrative charges against the absenting participants of the October 4-7, 2004 mass action, merely performed a duty expected of him and enjoined by law. Regardless of the mood petitioner Garcia was in when he signed the charge sheet, his act can easily be sustained as legally correct and doubtless within his jurisdiction.

It bears to reiterate at this point that the GSIS employees concerned were proceeded against - and eventually either exonerated, reprimanded or meted a one-month suspension, as the case may be - not for the exercise of their right to assemble peacefully and to petition for redress of grievance, but for engaging in what appeared to be a prohibited concerted activity. Respondent no less admitted that its members and other GSIS employees might have disrupted public service.[33]

To be sure, arbitrariness and whimsical exercise of power or, in fine, grave abuse of discretion on the part of petitioner Garcia cannot be simplistically inferred from the sheer number of those charged as well as the gravity or the dire consequences of the charge of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, as the appellate court made it to appear. The principle of accountability demands that every erring government employee be made answerable for any malfeasance or misfeasance committed. And lest it be overlooked, the mere filing of formal administrative case, regardless of the gravity of the offense charged, does not overcome the presumptive innocence of the persons complained of nor does it shift the burden of evidence to prove guilt of an administrative offense from the complainant.

Moreover, the Court invites attention to its holding in MPSTA v. Laguio, Jr., a case involving over 800 public school teachers who took part in mass actions for which the then Secretary of Education filed administrative complaints on assorted charges, such as gross misconduct. Of those charged, 650 were dismissed and 195 suspended for at least six (6) months The Court, however, did not consider the element of number of respondents thereat and/or the dire consequences of the charge/s as fatally vitiating or beclouding the bona fides of the Secretary of Education's challenged action. Then as now, the Court finds the filing of charges against a large number of persons and/or the likelihood that they will be suspended or, worse, dismissed from the service for the offense as indicating a strong and clear case of grave abuse of authority to justify the issuance of a writ of prohibition.

The appellate court faulted petitioner Garcia for not first taping existing grievance machinery and other modes of settlement agreed upon in the GSIS-KMG Collective Negotiations Agreement (CAN) before going full steam ahead with his formal charges.[34]

The Court can plausibly accord cogency to the CA's angle on grievance procedure but for the fact that it conveniently disregarded what appears to be the more relevant provision of the CNA. We refer to Article VI which reads:
The GSIS Management and the KMG have mutually agreed to promote the principle of shared responsibility ... on all matters and decisions affecting the rights, benefits and interests of all GSIS employees .... Accordingly, ... the parties also mutually agree that the KMG shall not declare a strike nor stage any concerted action which will disrupt public service and the GSIS management shall not lockout employees who are members of the KMG during the term of this agreement. GSIS Management shall also respect the rights of the employees to air their sentiments through peaceful concerted activities during allowable hours, subject to reasonable office rules ....[35] (Underscoring added)
If the finger of blame, therefore, is to be pointed at someone for non-exhaustion of less confrontational remedies, it should be at the respondent union for spearheading a concerted mass action without resorting to available settlement mechanism. As it were, it was KMG, under Atty. Alberto Velasco, which opened fire first. That none of the parties bothered to avail of the grievance procedures under the GSIS-KMG CNA should not be taken against the GSIS. At best, both GSIS management and the Union should be considered as in pari delicto.

With the foregoing disquisitions, the Court finds it unnecessary to discuss at length the legal standing of Alberto Velasco to represent the herein respondent union and to initiate the underlying petition for prohibition. Suffice it to state that Velasco, per Joint Resolution No. 04-10-01 approved on October 5, 2004 by the KMG Joint Executive-Legislative Assembly, had ceased to be member, let alone president, of the KMG, having previously been dropped from the rolls of GSIS employees.[36] While the dropping from the rolls is alleged to have been the subject of a CA-issued temporary restraining order (TRO), the injunction came after Atty. Velasco had in fact been separated from the service and it appears that the TRO had already expired.

As a final consideration, the Court notes or reiterates the following relevant incidents surrounding the disposition of the case below:
  1. The CA had invoked as part of its ratio decidendi a dissenting opinion in MPSTA, even going to the extent of describing as "instructive and timely" a portion, when the majority opinion thereat, which the appellate court ignored, is the controlling jurisprudence.

  2. The CA gave prominence to dispositions and rattled off holdings[37] of the Court, which appropriately apply only to strikes in the private industry labor sector, and utilized the same as springboard to justify an inference of grave abuse of discretion. On the other hand, it only gave perfunctory treatment if not totally ignored jurisprudence that squarely dealt with strikes in the public sector, as if the right to strike given to unions in private corporations/entities is necessarily applicable to civil service employees.

  3. As couched, the assailed CA decision perpetually bars respondent Garcia – and necessarily whoever succeeds him as GSIS President – not only from implementing the formal charges against GSIS employees who participated in the October 4 - 7, 2004 mass action but also from issuing other formal charges arising from the same events. The injunction was predicated on a finding that grave abuse of discretion attended the exercise of petitioner Garcia's disciplinary power vested him under Section 45 of RA 8291.[38] At bottom then, the assailed decision struck down as a nullity, owing to the alleged attendant arbitrariness, not only acts that have already been done, but those yet to be done. In net effect, any formal charge arising from the October 4-7, 2004 incident is, under any and all circumstances, prejudged as necessarily tainted with arbitrariness to be slain at sight.
The absurdities and ironies easily deducible from the foregoing situations are not lost on the Court.

We close with the observation that the assailed decision and resolution, if allowed to remain undisturbed, would likely pave the way to the legitimization of mass actions undertaken by civil servants, regardless of their deleterious effects on the interest of the public they have sworn to serve with loyalty and efficiency. Worse still, it would permit the emergence of a system where public sector workers are, as the petitioners aptly put it, "immune from the minimum reckoning for acts that [under settled jurisprudence] are concededly unlawful." This aberration would be intolerable.

WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the writ of prohibition issued by that court is NULLIFIED.

No Cost.


Puno, (Chairperson), Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Corona, J., on leave.

[1] Penned by Associate Justice Rebecca DeGuia-Salvador, concurred in by Associate Justices Amelita G. Tolentino and Aurora Santiago-Lagman, Rollo, pp. 78-98.

[2] Id. at 101-105.

[3] CA Decision, p. 2; Id. at 79.

[4] Id. at 80.

[5] Id. at 79-81.

[6] Garcia's Motion for Reconsideration of the [CA's] Decision dated June 22, 2005, pp. 8-9; Annex "G," Petition, Id. at 44-45.

[7] Supra note 1.

[8] Supra note 2.

[9] GSIS exists pursuant to PD 1146, as amended by RA No. 8291, or the Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997.

[10] Constitution, Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(1); SSS Employees Association v. CA, G.R. No. 85279, July 28, 1989, 175 SCRA 686; Home Development Mutual Fund v. COA, G.R. No. 142297, June 15, 2004, 432 SCRA 127.

[11] G.R. No. 124540, November 14, 1997, 281 SCRA 657.

[12] Bangalisan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124678, July 31, 1997, 276 SCRA 619.

[13] CA Resolution, p. 4; Rollo, p. 104.

[14] CA Resolutions pp. 3-4; Rollo, 103-104.

[15] G.R. Nos. 95445 & 95590, August 6, 1991, 200 SCRA 323.

[16] CA Decision, p. 10; Rollo, p. 87.

[17] Sec. 4. Limitation on the Right to Self-Organization. – The right to self-organization accorded to government employees as described in the foregoing section shall not carry with it the right to engage in any form of prohibited concerted activity or mass action causing or intending to cause work stoppage or service disruption, albeit of temporary nature.

Sec. 5. Definition of Prohibited Concerted Mass Action. – As used in this Omnibus rules, the phrase "prohibited concerted activity" shall be understood to refer to any collective activity undertaken by government employees, by themselves or through their employees' organizations, with the intent of effecting work stoppage or service disruption in order to realize their demands or force concessions, economic or otherwise, from their respective agencies or the government. It shall include mass leaves, walkouts, pickets and acts of similar nature.

[18] No. L-60403, August 3, 1983, 124 SCRA 1.

[19] Art. IX(B), Sec. 2 (5).

[20] Art. XIII, Sec. 2.

[21] G.R. No. 124678, July 31, 1997, 276 SCRA 619.

[22] Supra note 15.

[23] Supra note 11.

[24] G.R. Nos. 123562-65, November 25, 2004, 444 SCRA 51.


[26] CSC Res. No. 021316, Sec. 5; Supra note 17. .

[27] Annex "C" and Annex "I," Petition, Rollo, p. 107 and 173, respectively.

[28] Id. at 267.

[29] Rep. Act No. 6713.

[30] Jacinto v. CA, supra note 22..

[31] CSC Resolution No. 021316, Sec. 5.

[32] SEC. 45. Powers and Duties of the President and General Manager.- xxx The President and General Manager [of the GSIS], subject to the approval of the Board, shall appoint the personnel of the GSIS, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline them for cause, in accordance with existing Civil Service rules and regulations ....

[33] KMG's basic petition for prohibition, p. 13; Rollo, p. 121 et seq.

[34] CA Decision, pp. 17-18; Id. at 94-95.

[35] Petition, p. 41; Id. at 43.

[36] Annex "D," Petition; Id. at 108.

[37] Allied Banking Corporation v. NLRC, G.R. No. 116128, July 12, 1996, 258 SCRA 724; Lapanday Workers Union v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 95494-97, September 7, 1995, 248 SCRA 95; International Container Terminal Services, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 98295, April 10, 1996, 256 SCRA 134.

[38] Supra note 32.

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