389 Phil. 364
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Commission resolves to find Herman P. Caniete and Wilfredo A. Rosario guilty of Violation of Reasonable Office Rules and Regulations. The assailed decision is thus modified as they are hereby meted out the penalty of reprimand. They are automatically reinstated in the service without payment of back salaries.Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the CSC resolution insofar as it disallowed the payment of their back salaries. The CSC denied their motion for reconsideration. Petitioners then elevated the case to the CA but the latter affirmed the decision of the CSC. In denying petitioners claim for back salaries, the CA cited City Mayor of Zamboanga vs. CA, where this Court held:
x x x back salaries may be ordered paid to an officer or employee only if he is exonerated of the charge against him and his suspension or dismissal is found and declared to be illegal. In Sales vs. Mathay, Sr., 129 SCRA 321, this Court held that a postal clerk suspended for six months for gross neglect of duty is not entitled to back salary if he cannot show that his suspension was unjustified or that he is innocent of the charge.Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the above decision but the CA denied the same in its Resolution, dated 6 October 1999. Hence, this appeal.
Thus, the order of payment of full backwages in this case is without lawful basis. Indeed, to allow private respondent to receive full back salaries would amount to rewarding him for his misdeeds and compensating him for services that were never rendered.
SEC. 47. Disciplinary Jurisdiction.Thus, there are two kinds of preventive suspension of civil service employees who are charged with offenses punishable by removal or suspension: (1) preventive suspension pending investigation (§51) and (2) preventive suspension pending appeal if the penalty imposed by the disciplining authority is suspension or dismissal and, after review, the respondent is exonerated (§47).
(2) The Secretaries and heads of agencies and instrumentalities, provinces, cities and municipalities shall have jurisdiction to investigate and decide matters involving disciplinary action against officers and employees under their jurisdiction. Their decisions shall be final in case the penalty imposed is suspension for not more than thirty days or fine in an amount not exceeding thirty days' salary. In case the decision rendered by a bureau or office head is appealable to the Commission, the same may be initially appealed to the department and finally to the Commission and pending appeal, the same shall be executory except when the penalty is removal, in which case the same shall be executory only after confirmation by the Secretary concerned.
(4) An appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory, and in case the penalty is suspension or removal, the respondent shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension during the pendency of the appeal in the event he wins an appeal.
SEC 51. Preventive Suspension.- The proper disciplining authority may preventively suspend any subordinate officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation, if the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct, or neglect in the performance of duty, or if there are reasons to believe that the respondent is guilty of charges which would warrant his removal from the service.
SEC. 52. Lifting of Preventive Suspension Pending Administrative Investigation.- When the administrative case against the officer or employee under preventive suspension is not finally decided by the disciplining authority within the period of ninety (90) days after the date of suspension of the respondent who is not a presidential appointee, the respondent shall be automatically reinstated in the service: Provided, That when the delay in the disposition of the case is due to the fault, negligence or petition of the respondent, the period of delay shall not be counted in computing the period of suspension herein provided.
Private respondents were exonerated of all charges against them for acts connected with the teachers' strike of September and October 1990. Although they were absent from work, it was not because of the strike. For being absent without leave, they were held liable for violation of reasonable office rules and regulations for which the penalty is a reprimand. Their case thus falls squarely within ruling in Bangalisan, which likewise involved a teacher found guilty of having violated reasonable office rules and regulations. Explaining the grant of salaries during their suspension despite the fact that they were meted out reprimand, this Court stated:Given the substantial factual similarities of this case to Gloria, there is clearly no reason for this Court to rule against the payment of back salaries to herein petitioners.
"With respect to petitioner Rodolfo Mariano, payment of his backwages is in order. A reading of the resolution of the Civil Service Commission will show that he was exonerated of the charges which formed the basis for his suspension. The Secretary of the DECS charged him with and he was later found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, gross violation of the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations and reasonable office regulations, refusal to perform official duty, gross insubordination, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and absence without official leave, for his participation in the mass actions on September 18, 20 and 21, 1990. It was his alleged participation in the mass actions that was the basis of his preventive suspension and, later, his dismissal from the service.
However, the Civil Service Commission, in the questioned resolution, made a finding that Mariano was not involved in the "mass actions" but was absent because he was in Ilocos Sur to attend the wake and interment of his grandmother. Although the CSC imposed upon him the penalty of reprimand, the same was for his violation of reasonable office rules and regulations because he failed to inform the school of his intended absence and neither did he file an application for leave covering such absences.
Under Section 23 of the Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 and other pertinent civil service laws, in violations of reasonable office rules and regulations, the first offense is punishable by reprimand. To deny petitioner Mariano his back wages during his suspension would be tantamount to punishing him after his exoneration from the charges which caused his dismissal from the service."
In Jacinto v. Court of Appeals, a public school teacher who was found guilty of violation of reasonable office rules and regulations for having been absent without leave and reprimanded was given back salaries after she was exonerated of the charge of having taken part in the strikes.