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G.R. No.

L-25716 July 28, 1966 Tribunal, as an incident of an election contest, is inconsistent with
the exclusive power of Congress to canvass the election returns for
FERNANDO LOPEZ, petitioner, the President and the Vice-President; that no amendment to the
vs. Constitution providing for an election protest involving the office of
GERARDO ROXAS and PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL President and Vice-President has been adopted, despite the
TRIBUNAL, respondents. constitutional amendment governing election contests for Members
of Congress; that the tenure of the President and the Vice-
Vicente Francisco for petitioner. President is fixed by the Constitution and cannot be abridged by an
Sycip and Salazar for respondents. Act of Congress, like Republic Act No. 1793; that said Act has the
effect of amending the Constitution, in that it permits the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal to review the congressional
proclamation of the president-elect and the vice-president-elect;
that the constitutional convention had rejected the original plan to
Petitioner Fernando Lopez and respondent Gerardo Roxas were the include in the Constitution a provision authorizing election contest
main contenders for the Office of Vice-President of the Philippines affecting the president-elect and the vice-president-elect before an
in the general elections held on November 9, 1965. By Resolution electoral commission; that the people understood the Constitution
No. 2, approved on December 17, 1965, the two Houses of to authorize election contests only for Members of Congress, not
Congress, in joint session assembled as the board charged with the for President and Vice-President, and, in interpreting the
duty to canvass the votes then cast for President and Vice Constitution, the people's intent is paramount; that it is illegal for
President of the Philippines, proclaimed petitioner Fernando Lopez Justices of the Supreme Court to sit as members of the Presidential
elected to the latter office with 3,531,550 votes, or a plurality of Electoral Tribunal, since the decisions thereof are appealable to the
26,724 votes over his closest opponent, respondent Gerardo M. Supreme Court on questions of law; that the Presidential Electoral
Roxas, in whose favor 3,504,826 votes had been tallied, according Tribunal is a court inferior to the Supreme Court; and that
to said resolution. On January 5, 1966, respondent filed, with the Congress cannot by legislation appoint in effect the members of the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal, Election Protest No. 2, contesting Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
the election of petitioner herein as Vice-President of the
Philippines, upon the ground that it was not he, but said
Pursuant to the Constitution, "the Judicial power shall be vested in
respondent, who had obtained the largest number of votes for said
one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be
established by law.1
On February 22, 1966, petitioner Lopez instituted in the Supreme
This provision vests in the judicial branch of the government, not
Court the present original action, for prohibition with preliminary
merely some specified or limited judicial power, but "the" judicial
injunction, against respondent Roxas, to prevent the Presidential
power under our political system, and, accordingly, the entirety or
Electoral Tribunal from hearing and deciding the aforementioned
"all" of said power, except, only, so much as the Constitution
election contest, upon the ground that Republic Act No. 1793,
confers upon some other agency, such as the power to "judge all
creating said Tribunal, is "unconstitutional," and that, "all
contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications" of
proceedings taken by it are a nullity."
members of the Senate and those of the House of Representatives
which is vested by the fundamental law solely in the Senate
Petitioner's contention is predicated upon the ground, that Electoral Tribunal and the House Electoral Tribunal, respectively.2
Congress may not, by law, authorize an election contest for
President and Vice-President, the Constitution being silent thereon;
Judicial power is the authority to settle justiciable controversies or
that such contest tends to nullify the constitutional authority of
disputes involving rights that are enforceable and demandable
Congress to proclaim the candidates elected for President and Vice-
before the courts of justice or the redress of wrongs for violations
President; that the recount of votes by the Presidential Electoral
of such rights.3 The proper exercise of said authority requires land registration, 10those of probate courts, 11 and those of courts
legislative action: (1) defining such enforceable and demandable of juvenile and domestic relations. 12 It is, also, comparable to the
rights and/or prescribing remedies for violations thereof; and (2) situation obtaining when the municipal court of a provincial capital
determining the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide said exercises its authority, pursuant to law, over a limited number of
controversies or disputes, in the first instance and/or on appeal. cases which were previously within the exclusive jurisdiction of
For this reason, the Constitution ordains that "Congress shall have courts of first instance. 13
the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of the
various courts," subject to the limitations set forth in the In all of these instances, the court (court of first instance or
fundamental law.4 municipal court) is only one, although the functions may
be distinct and, even, separate. Thus the powers of a court of first
Prior to the approval of Republic Act No. 1793, a defeated instance, in the exercise of its jurisdiction over ordinary civil cases,
candidate for president or vice-president, who believe that he was are broader than, as well as distinct and separate from, those of
the candidate who obtained the largest number of votes for either the same court acting as a court of land registration or
office, despite the proclamation by Congress of another candidate a probate court, or as a court of juvenile and domestic relations.
as the president-elect or vice-president-elect, had no legal right to So too, the authority of the municipal court of a provincial capital,
demand by election protest a recount of the votes cast for the when acting as such municipal court, is, territorially more limited
office concerned, to establish his right thereto. As a consequence, than that of the same court when hearing the aforementioned
controversies or disputes on this matter were not justiciable.5 cases which are primary within the jurisdiction of courts of first
instance. In other words, there is only one court, although it may
Section 1 of Republic Act No. 1793, which provides that: perform the functions pertaining to several types of courts, each
having some characteristics different from those of the others.
There shall be an independent Presidential Electoral Tribunal
... which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to Indeed, the Supreme Court, 14 the Court of Appeals 15 and courts of
the election, returns, and qualifications of the president- first instance, 16 are vested with original jurisdiction, as well as with
elect and the vice-president-elect of the Philippines. appellate jurisdiction, in consequence of which they are booth trial
courts and appellate courts, without detracting from the fact that
has the effect of giving said defeated candidate the legal right to there is only one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals,
contest judicially the election of the President-elect or Vice- and one court of first instance, clothed with authority to discharged
President-elect and to demand a recount of the votes cast for the said dual functions. A court of first instance, when performing the
office involved in the litigation as well as to secure a judgment functions of a probate court or a court of land registration, or a
declaring that he6 is the one elected president or vice-president, as court of juvenile and domestic relations, although with powers less
the case may be,7 and that, as such, he is entitled to assume the broad than those of a court of first instance, hearing ordinary
duties attached to said office. And by providing, further, that the actions, is not inferior to the latter, for one cannot be inferior to
Presidential Electoral Tribunal "shall be composed of the Chief itself. So too, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is not inferior to
Justice and the other ten Members of the Supreme Court," said the Supreme Court, since it is the same Court although
legislation has conferred upon such Court an additional original the functions peculiar to said Tribunal are more limited in scope
jurisdiction of an exclusive character.8 than those of the Supreme Court in the exercise of its ordinary
functions. Hence, the enactment of Republic Act No. 1793, does
not entail an assumption by Congress of the power of appointment
Republic Act No. 1793 has not created a new or separate court. It
vested by the Constitution in the President. It merely connotes the
has merely conferred upon the Supreme Court the functions of a
imposition of additional duties upon the Members of the Supreme
Presidential Electoral Tribunal. The result of the enactment may be
Court. 17
likened to the fact that courts of first instance perform the
functions of such ordinary courts of first instance,9 those of court of
Moreover, the power to be the "judge ... of ... contests relating to leaving in the hands of the legislative department the power to
the election, returns, and qualifications" of any public officer is decide what entity or body would "look into the protests for the
essentially judicial. As such — under the very principle of positions of President and Vice-President." 23 Twenty-two (22)
separation of powers invoked by petitioner herein — it years later, or on May 3, 1957 then Senator Recto reiterated this
belongs exclusively to the judicial department, except only insofar view, when, in the course of the debates on the Bill which later
as the Constitution provides otherwise. This is precisely the reason became Republic Act No. 1793, he stated:
why said organic law ordains that "the Senate and the House of
Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall ... Mr. President, as far as I can remember, the intention of
be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, the constitutional convention was to leave this matter to
and qualifications of their respective Members" (Article VI, Section ordinary legislation.
11, of the Constitution). In other words, the purpose of this
provision was to exclude the power to decide such contests relating Such was, also, the impression of Dr. Jose M. Aruego, another
to Members of Congress — which by nature is judicial 18 — from prominent Member of the Convention, who says 24that
the operation of the general grant of judicial power 19 to "the
Supreme Court and such inferior courts as may be established by
Election protests for the Presidency and the Vice-
Presidendency were left to be judged in a manner and by a
body decided by the National Assembly. (Emphasis ours.)
Instead of indicating that Congress may not enact Republic Act No.
1793, the aforementioned provision of the Constitution,
No less than one of the main counsel for petitioner herein, himself,
establishing said Electoral Tribunals for Members of Congress only,
another delegate to the Constitutional Convention, evidently
proves the exact opposite, namely: that the Constitution intended
shared this view as late as September 30, 1965, for the
to vest Congress with discretion 20 to determine by law whether
introduction to his 1965 edition of "the Revised Election Code"
or not the election of a president-elect or that of a vice-president-
states that "he will always be remembered for ... his famous bill
elect may be contested and, if Congress should decide in the
creating the Presidential Electoral Tribunal ...". Indeed as a
affirmative, which court of justice shall have jurisdiction to hear the
member of the Senate, on January 3, 1950, he Introduced Senate
contest. It is, even, debatable whether such jurisdiction may be
Bill No. 1 seeking to create a Presidential Electoral Tribunal "to try,
conferred, by statute, to a board, commission or tribunal composed
hear and decide protests contesting the election of the President
partly of Members of Congress and Members of the Supreme Court
and the Vice-President of the Philippines", which shall be composed
because of its possible inconsistency with the constitutional grant
of three Justices of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice,
of the judicial power to "the Supreme Court and ... such inferior
and four Senators and four Members of the House of
courts as may be established by law," for said board, commission
or tribunal would be neither "the Supreme Court, 21 nor, certainly,
"such inferior courts as, may be established by law."
Then, again, the records of the Convention show, that in voting
eventually to eliminate, from the draft of the Constitution, the
It follows, therefore, not only that Republic Act No. 1793 is not
provision establishing a Presidential Electoral Commission, the
inconsistent with the Constitution or with the principle of
delegates were influenced by the fact that there was no similar
separation of powers underlying the same, but, also, that it is in
provision in the Federal Constitution of the United States. Having
harmony with the aforementioned grant of "the judicial power" to
followed the pattern thereof, it must be assumed, therefore, in the
said courts. Indeed, when Claro M. Recto, Chairman of the
absence of any indicium to the contrary,25 that the Convention had
Constitutional Convention, proposed that the original move therein
adhered, also, to the interpretation given to this feature of said
to include in the fundamental law a provision creating an Electoral
Federal Constitution, as may be deduced from the fact that, by an
Commission 22 to hear election contests against the President-elect
act of Congress of the United States, approved on January 29,
and the Vice-President-elect, be given up, he expressed the view
1877, an Electoral Commission was created to hear and decide
that the elimination of said provision would have the effect of
certain issues concerning the election of the President of said It is similarly obvious that, in imposing upon the Supreme Court
nation held in 1876. It is, also worthy of notice that pursuant to the additional duty of performing the functions of a Presidential
said Act, nothing therein "shall be held to impair or affect any right Electoral Tribunal, Congress has not, through Republic Act No.
now existing under the Constitution and laws to question, by 1793, encroached upon the appointing power of the Executive. The
proceedings in the judicial courts of the United States, the right or imposition of new duties constitutes, neither the creation of an
title of the person who shall be declared elected, or who shall claim office, nor the appointment of an officer. 29
to be President or Vice-President of the United States, if any such
right exists". 26 Thus the absence of a provision in said Federal In view of a resolution of this Court dated July 8, 1966, upholding
Constitution governing protests against the election of the the validity of Republic Act No. 1793, upon the ground that it
President and the Vice-President had been construed to be without merely vests additional jurisdiction in the Supreme Court,
prejudice to the right of the defeated candidate to file a petitioner has filed a motion dated July 13, 1966, praying this
protest before the courts of justice of the United States, if the laws Court "to clarify whether or not" this "election contest should as a
thereof permitted it. In other words, the Federal Congress was consequence ... be docketed with, and the records thereof
deemed clothed with authority to determine, by ordinary transferred, to this Supreme Court, and all pleadings, papers and
legislation, whether or not protests against the election of said processes relative thereto should thence forth be filed with it". The
officers may properly be entertained by the judicial department. motion is, evidently, based upon the premise that the Supreme
Court is different and distinct from the Presidential Electoral
Needless to say, the power of congress to declare who, among the Tribunal, which is erroneous, as well as contrary to the ruling made
candidates for President and/or Vice-President, has obtained the in said resolution.
largest number of votes, is entirely different in nature from and not
inconsistent with the jurisdiction vested in the Presidential Electoral Wherefore, the petition herein is hereby dismissed and the writs
Tribunal by Republic Act No. 1793. Congress merely acts as a therein prayed for denied accordingly. The aforesaid motion is,
national board of canvassers, charged with moreover, denied. With costs against the petitioner. It is so
the ministerial and executive duty 27 to make said declaration, on ordered
the basis of the election returns duly certified by provincial and city
boards of canvassers. 28 Upon the other hand, the Presidential
Electoral Tribunal has the judicial power to determine whether or
not said duly certified election returns have been irregularly made
or tampered with, or reflect the true result of the elections in the G.R. No. 93868 February 19, 1991
areas covered by each, and, if not, to recount the ballots cast, and,
incidentally thereto, pass upon the validity of each ballot or ARDELIZA MEDENILLA, petitioner,
determine whether the same shall be counted, and, in the vs.
affirmative, in whose favor, which Congress has power to do. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, AMPARO DELLOSA,
It is, likewise, patent that the aforementioned authority of the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal to determine whether or not the
protestant has a better right than the President and/or the Vice-
President declared elected by Congress would not abridge the
constitutional tenure. If the evidence introduced in the election GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:
protest shows that the person really elected president or vice-
president is the protestant, not the person declared elected by This is a petition seeking the annulment of the resolutions issued
Congress, then the latter had legally no constitutional tenure by the Civil Service Commission which disapproved the
whatsoever, and, hence, he can claim no abridgement appointment of the petitioner to the position of Supervising Human
thereof.1äwphï1.ñët Manpower Development Officer.
Petitioner Ardeliza Medenilla was a contractual employee of the Not satisfied, the private respondents appealed the decision to the
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) occupying the Civil Service Commission. The Commission found:
position of Public Relations Officer II.
On the onset, it appears that protestee Medenilla does not
In 1987, Medenilla was detailed as Technical Assistant in the Office possess the required qualifications for the position. . . .
of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Manpower Moreover, her eligibility is PD 907, being a cum laude
Management. graduate. Let it be considered appropriate only for
appointment to "second level positions" which require the
Pursuant to Executive Order No. 124 dated January 30, 1987, a application of knowledge and skills within the appointee's
reorganization ensued within the DPWH and all the positions field of study. (Rollo, p. 28-29)
therein were abolished. A revised staffing pattern together with the
guidelines on the selection and placement of personnel was issued. xxx xxx xxx

Included in the revised staffing pattern is the contested position of Further, it also appears that Medenilla is a contractual
Supervising Human Resource Development Officer. employee assigned or detailed with the Office of the
Assistant Secretary for Administrations and Manpower
On January 2, 1989, the petitioner was appointed to the disputed Management (the appointing authority) as Public Relations
position. Officer II, while protestants are all permanent employee of
the Division (Human Resources Planning) where the
On January 27, 1989, respondents Amparo Dellosa, Rosalinda Juria vancancy exist.
and Marita Burdeos together with Matilde Angeles, Catalina
Espinas, Alicia Nercelles and Ramon Racela, all of whom are Indeed, RA 6656 does not preclude the appointment of
employees in the Human Resource Training and Material contractuals to a new staffing pattern, however, in the
Development Division, Administrative and Manpower Management presence and availability of qualified permanent next-in-
Service of the DPWH, jointly lodged a protest before the DPWH rank employees in the organization, the latter has to be
task force on reorganization contesting the appointment of the preferred, unless a contractual employee possesses superior
petitioner to the position. qualifications that could justify her appointment. However,
in this case, we see no superior qualifications or any special
The protestants alleged that since they are next-in-rank reasons for preferring Medenilla over the protestants.
employees, one of them should have been appointed to the said (Rollo, p. 29)
We find merit in the protest. While as earlier mentioned, the
On August 2, 1989, the task force on reorganization dismissed the appointing authority is given the wide latitude of discretion,
protest. The dispositive portion of its decision reads as follows: to sustain the appointment of Medenilla may give the
appointing power unnecessary opportunities to act
capriciously and thus thwart the natural and reasonable
Premises considered, the Task Force on Reorganization
expectation of the officer next-in-rank to any vacant
Appeals finds the instant protest of Matilde Angeles, et al.
position, to be promoted to it As held in Millares v.
without merit and hereby recommends to the Honorable
Subido, G.R. No. L-23281, promulgated August 10, 1967,
Secretary that the appointment of Ardeliza Medenilla to the
the Supreme Court held:
contested position of Supervising Human Resource
Development Officer be upheld. (Rollo, p. 26)
We, therefore, hold that in the event of there occurring a
vacancy, the officer next-in-rank must, as far as practicable
and as the appointing authority sees it in his best judgment certain Elvira H. Villania stated her duties in the Guthrie-
and estimation, be promoted . . . and that it is only in cases Jensen Consultants, Inc. in her one (1) year and (7) months
of promotion, where an employee other than the ranking as Research and Publication Officer of working included
one is promoted, is the appointing power under duty to give "providing research assistance to our Management
"special reason or reasons" for his action . . . . Consultants in drawing up performance appraisal system,
merit promotion system and conducting development for
Again, the special reasons advanced by the appointing our client-companies." Notwithstanding, assuming that her
authority in this case is (sic) not enough. Considering 1 year and 7 months experience in the company is relevant,
further that appointee is not meeting the minimum yet, compared to the experience of the protestants in the
qualification standards set by his own office, she could not field of Human Resource Development, said experience is
be said to possess far superior qualification than those obviously outweighed. There is no dispute that Medenilla
permanent next-in-rank employees of the Department. has experience as a Researcher but said experience is
(Rollo, pp. 30-31) basically on the field of journalism and information. (Rollo,
p. 35)
Thus, on February 28, 1990, the Commission promulgated the
assailed resolution, the dispositive portion of which reads: xxx xxx xxx

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the 4. Education background and eligibility of Medenilla.
Commission resolved to disapprove the promotional
appointment of Ardeliza Medenilla to the position of . . . Notwithstanding, we are inclined to reconsider our
Supervising Human Manpower Development Officer. position that the educational background is not relevant. AB
Accordingly, the appointing authority may choose from may therefore be taken as a relevant degree for purposes of
among protestants Amparo Dellosa, Marita Burdeos and qualifying to the position. As such, her PD 907 eligibility
Rosalinda Juria who to promote to the said position. The may be considered appropriate." (Rollo, p. 37)
Civil Service Field Office is directed to implement this
resolution accordingly." (Rollo, p. 31) xxx xxx xxx

The petitioner on March 23, 1990 filed a motion for reconsideration Granting for the sake of argument that the DPWH adhered
of the resolution. On May 30, 1990 a supplement to the Motion for to its rules relative to reorganization, is at this point, no
Reconsideration was also filed. However, prior thereto, the longer material and controlling. What is now the issue is
Commission on May 23, 1990 denied the petitioner's motion for whether Medenilla indeed possesses superior qualifications
reconsideration. The pertinent portions of the denial are: over any of the protestants. (Rollo, p. 38)

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

2. Experience of Medenilla The edge of 1.30% of Medenilla over Dellosa cannot be

considered by this Commission significant enough to
Medenilla alleges that the Commission failed to appreciate presume and declare that Medenilla possesses far superior
her 3 years and 8 months of experience directly relevant to qualifications over the protestant and to warrant the
Human Resource Development. Looking more deeply into appointment of a contractual employee over a permanent
her experience as reflected in her CS Form 212, we could employee of the Department. (Rollo, p. 39)
not distinguish her experience directly relevant to the field
of Human Resource Development. The certification of a Hence, this petition.
The petitioner interposes the following grounds: The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. The
presence of a party is not always the cornerstone of due process.
I (Asprec v. Itchon, 16 SCRA 921 [1966]; Auyong Hian v. Court of
Tax Appeals, 59 SCRA 110 [1974]; Assistant Executive Secretary
The resolutions were issued by the Respondent Commission, for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President of the Philippines v.
without giving notice to the petitioner of the existence of an Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 76761, January 9, 1989). What the law
appeal filed before the CSC, thereby denying the petitioner prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the absolute
due process of law. absence thereof and lack of opportunity to be heard. (Tajonero v.
Lamarosa, 110 SCRA 438 [1981])
In the case at bar, any defect was cured by the filing of a motion
for reconsideration. (see De Leon v. Comelec, 129 SCRA 117
The Civil Service Commission committed grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in disapproving
the appointment of the petitioner. Its function, is limited
only to determine whether the appointee possesses the The second contention of the petitioner alleges that the
appropriate civil service eligibility and not whether another Commission acted with grave abuse of discretion in disapproving
is more qualified than the petitioner. her appointment.

Without giving due course to the petition, the Court on July 10, The public respondent views it otherwise. The Civil Service
1990, issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the Commission asserts that being the Central Personnel Agency of the
Commission from implementing the assailed resolutions. Government, it is the final arbiter on civil service matters.

Anent the first ground, the petitioner contends that she was not The Commission alleges, that, pursuant to RA 6656, the
notified by the Civil Service Commission of the existence of the Commission is authorized to act on appeals by aggrieved
appeal before it. The resolutions, therefore, were allegedly issued employees in the course of reorganization and, therefore, it has the
in violation of the petitioner's constitutionally guaranteed due power to reverse or modify any decision brought before it on
process of law. appeal.

The public respondent, on the other hand, advances the argument The petitioner's second contention is impressed with merit.
that what due process abhors is not lack of previous notice but the
absolute lack of opportunity to be heard. Since the petitioner filed a The qualification standards for the contested position are as
motion for reconsideration, she cannot now complain that she was follows:
deprived of due process.
The petitioner's first contention is without merit.
"Due process of law implies the right of the person affected thereby
to be present before the tribunal which pronounces judgment upon Bachelor's degree 2 years of Manpower-Youth
the question of life, liberty, and property in its most comprehensive
sense; to be heard,by testimony or otherwise, and to have the relevant to the job experience in Development
right of controverting, by proof, every material fact which bears on
the question of the light in the matter involved." (Black's Law with at least human resource Officer
Dictionary, 4th Edition, p. 590)
9 units in post development Manpower In support of its argument, the Commission cited in the disputed
resolution, the case of Millares v. Subido, 20 SCRA 954 where this
Development Court held:

Officer . . . A vacant position shall be filled by promotion of the

ranking officer or employee. And only where, for special
Relevant RA reason or reasons of which the affected officer or employee
will be notified, this mode of recruitment on selection
cannot be observed, that the position may be filled by
transfer, or re-employment, or by getting from the certified
list of appropriate eligibles, in that order.
Finally, the public respondent advances the view that, since the
Second Level Revised Administrative Code of 1987 now provides that the
Commission shall "take appropriate action on all appointment" its
Eligibility authority, therefore, is no longer limited to the mere approval or
disapproval of appointments submitted to it.
Career Service
A careful review of the records of the case, will reveal that the
(Professional) petitioner possesses the requisite experience for the contested
First Grade
The petitioner, not only was a cum laude graduate from the
Supervisor University of the Philippines, she has also acquired plenty of
experience in the field of Human Resource Development, to wit:
It is not disputed that the petitioner possesses the appropriate civil
service eligibility and requisite educational background. The public She was rated and ranked number one in the Trainor's
respondent itself, in its resolution dated May 23, 1990, considered Training Program (120 hours) conducted for the DPWH by
the petitioner's PD No. 907 eligibility appropriate for the position. the Phil-Tao, Inc., a private firm. Ms. Dellosa was ranked
(Rollo, p. 37) number 7, Mrs. Juria was ranked number 10; Mrs. Burdeos
did not attend the seminar. This training program was
The controversy then centers on the experience of the petitioner. undertaken to strengthen the capabilities of HRD personnel,
and to make them more effective in the discharge of their
The Commission contends that the experience of Medenilla is functions.
basically in the field of journalism and not in Human Resource
Development. The Commission also alleges that since the She is a recipient of a special commendation, given by
petitioner is merely a contractual employee, in the absence of Executive Director Remedios I. Rikken of the National
superior qualifications, the private respondents must be preferred Commission in the Role of Filipino Woman, for her efficiency
not only for the reason that they are permanent career service and exemplary performance as a facilitator in the conduct of
employees but most especially because they are next-in-rank to the workshops during the Second Congress of Women in
the disputed position. Government. (Letter of Ms. Rikken addressed to Sec. Estuar
attached as ANNEX "B".).
She obtained in her on-going MBA studies at the De La Salle The argument of the public respondent that the petitioner must
University, which she pursued as an entrance scholar, the possess superior qualifications in order to be preferred over the
highest grade of 4.0, equivalent to "Excellent" in 2 HRD private respondents deserves no credit.
related subjects –– Organizational Management –– which
call for the integration of concepts with concrete experience. It can be readily seen that the petitioner possesses superior
qualifications. As earlier stated, she is a cum laude graduate of the
She participated in the preparation and dissemination of the University of the Philippines. She was ranked No. 1 in the
corporate planning processes installed and institutionalized department wide training program handled by a private firm. Two
in the DPWH. Corporate Planning was introduced by of the respondents were ranked way below while a third did not
Secretary Fiorello R. Estuar and is now being implemented even participate. She was commended for exemplary performance
in all government offices as instructed by the President. as facilitator during the Second Congress of Women in
Government. She received the highest grades from De la Salle
She conducted orientation/reorientation courses in DPWH University in her MBA studies. She helped draft the human
Regional Offices on (a) Management By Objectives and resource program for the entire DPWH. Inspire of her being a new
Results Evaluation, the Performance Appraisal System, and employee, she was assigned to conduct seminars on Performance
(b) a specifically designed Performance Appraisal System Appraisal Systems and on Management by Objectives and Results
for DPWH District Engineers and Division Chiefs, being for the DPWH. She was precisely drafted from a private firm to
officially used by the DPWH. assist in human resource planning for the DPWH. Her work is
apparently highly satisfactory as the top administrators of the
She participated in the conceptualizing and drafting of the DPWH not only appointed her but have asked the respondent
Department Order on the DPWH Incentives and Awards Commission to validate the appointment.
System, set up in compliance with RA No. 6713." (Rollo, p.
63) The respondents rely on Section 4 of R.A. 6656, which reads:

The public respondent failed to consider that the petitioner, in her xxx xxx xxx
one year and seven months experience with Guthrie-Jensen was
engaged in research relating to performance appraisal systems and Sec. 4. Officers and employees holding permanent
merit promotion systems which duties are all related to Human appointments shall be given preference for appointment to
Resource Development. new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable
to their former positions or if there are not enough
Precisely, it was because of her experience with Guthrie-Jensen comparable positions, to position next lower in rank.
that the petitioner was detailed from January 1987 until December
1988 in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Undoubtedly, old employees should be considered first. But it does
Manpower Management, where she was asked to assist in human not necessarily follow that they should then automatically be
resource planning. appointed.

The rejoinder filed during the proceedings before the Commission, The preference given to permanent employees assumes that
by the Assistant Secretary for Administrative and Manpower employees working in a Department for longer periods have gained
Management, Carolina Mangawang, is very revealing. The disputed not only superior skills but also greater dedication to the public
position requires of the holder of the office, skills in human service. This is not always true and the law, moreover, does not
resource developmental planning, research and statistics. The preclude the infusion of new blood, younger dynamism, or
petitioner possesses these skills in more than appropriate necessary talents into the government service. If, after considering
quantities. all the current employees, the Department Secretary cannot find
among them the person he needs to revive a moribund office or to advantage arising from their long employment but most specially,
upgrade second rate performance, there is nothing in the Civil it is to foster a more efficient public service. Any other factor must,
Service Law to prevent him from reaching out to other therefore, yield to the demand for an effective government, which
Departments or to the private sector provided all his acts are bona necessarily entails the appointment of competent, qualified and
fide for the best interest of the public service and the person proficient personnel. The deliberation of this Court in the case of
chosen has the needed qualifications. In the present case, there is Aguilar v. Nieva, Jr., 40 SCRA 113 [19711 is illuminating, to wit:
no indication that the petitioner was chosen for any other reason
except to bring in a talented person with the necessary eligibilities xxx xxx xxx
and qualifications for important assignments in the Department.
. . . It is not enough that an aspirant is qualified and eligible
The reason behind P.D. No. 907 (which grants civil service or that he is next-in-rank or in line for promotion, albeit by
eligibility to college graduates with at least cum laudehonors) of passive prescription. It is just necessary, in order for public
attracting honor graduates into the public service would be negated administration to be dynamic and responsive to the needs
if they always have to start as Clerk I and wait for hundreds of of the times, that the local executive be allowed the choice
deadwood above them to first go into retirement before they can of men of its confidence,provided they are qualified and
hope for significant and fulfilling assignments. eligible, who in his best estimation are possessed of the
requisite reputation, integrity, knowledgeability, energy and
The Commission's reliance on the dictum in Millares v. Subido, 20 judgment. (Emphasis supplied, p. 121)
SCRA 954 [19671 is misplaced. The ruling in Millares has already
been superseded by later decisions. We have already held in cases The point raised by the public respondent that, pursuant to the
subsequent to Millares that the next-in-rank rule is not absolute; it Revised Administrative Code of 1987, it is authorized to revoke
only applies in cases of promotion (see Pineda v. Claudio, 28 SCRA appointments, must necessarily fail.
34 [19691). And even in promotions, it can be disregarded for
sound reasons made known to the next-in-rank. The appointing We have already ruled on several occasions that when the
authority, under the Civil Service Law, is allowed to fill vacancies appointee is qualified, the Civil Service Commission has no choice
by promotion, transfer of present employees, reinstatement, but to attest to the appointment. It is not within its prerogative to
reemployment, and appointment of outsiders who have appropriate revoke an appointee on the ground that substituting its judgment
civil service eligibility, not necessarily in that order. (see Pineda v. for that of the appointing power, another person has better
Claudio, supra; Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327 qualifications for the job.
[1986]) There is no legal fiat that a vacancy must be filled only by
promotion; the appointing authority is given wide discretion to fill a
Once the function is discharged, the participation of the Civil
vacancy from among the several alternatives provided for by law.
Service Commission in the appointment process ceases. The only
purpose of attestation is to determine whether the appointee
In this case, the contested position was created in the course of possesses the requisite civil service eligibility, no more than that is
reorganization.1âwphi1 The position appears to be a new one. The left for the Civil Service Commission to do. (see Luego v. CSC, 143
applicability, therefore, of the next-in-rank rule does not come in SCRA 327 [1986]; Central Bank of the Philippines v. CSC, 171
clearly. Besides, as earlier stated, said rule is not absolute. There SCRA 744 [1989]; Secretary Oscar Orbos v. CSC, G.R. No. 92561,
are valid exceptions. September 12, 1990; Gaspar v. CSC, G.R. No. 90799, October 18,
Granting for the sake of argument that the case involves a
promotional appointment, the next-in-rank rule must give way to The rationale of this doctrine is that the power of appointment is
the exigencies of the public service. The intent of the Civil Service essentially discretionary. The discretion to be granted to the
Laws not merely to bestow upon permanent employees the appointing authority, if not plenary must at least be sufficient.
After all, not only is the appointing authority the officer primarily the TB Control Service, Office of Public Health, of the Department
responsible for the administration of the office but he is also in the of Health.
best position to determine who among the prospective appointees
can efficiently discharge the functions of the position (see Villegas That temporary appointment was shortly made subject to a formal
v. Subido, 30 SCRA 498 [1969]). As between the Commission protest filed by Dr. Julia P. Regino with the Committee on
which only looks into paper qualifications and the appointing Evaluation and Protest of the Department of Health. Dr. Regino
authority who views not only the listed qualifications but also the claimed that it was she to whom the appointment should have
prospective appointees themselves, the work to be accomplished, been extended since the post of Medical Officer III then held by her
the objectives of the Department, etc., the Court sustains the was next-in-rank to the office in question, and moreover she had
Department Head. been in the service for thirty-five years. However, the Committee
on Evaluation and Protest ruled adversely to her and upheld the
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The resolutions Health Secretary's appointment of Dr. Mantala as Division Chief.
issued by the Civil Service Commission dated February 28, 1990
and May 23, 1990 are SET ASIDE. The restraining order issued by Dr. Regino appealed to the Merit Systems Board of the Civil Service
this Court on July 10, 1990 is made permanent. Commission. On December 14, 1989, the Board rendered a verdict
adversely to Dr. Mantala and in Dr. Regino's favor. This decision
G.R. No. 101646 February 13, 1992 the Department of Health appealed to the Civil Service
vs. Some three weeks later, or more precisely on January 8, 1990,
HON. IGNACIO L. SALVADOR, Judge, Regional Trial Court of Secretary Bengzon made Dr. Mantala's appointment as Division
Quezon City, and DR. JULIA P. REGINO, respondents. Chief permanent. He also filed, under date of January 23, 1989, a
motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned decision of the
Araceli Baviera for petitioner. Merit Systems Board which was, however, denied, on February 12,
Benjamin M. Dacanay for private respondents.
Secretary Bengzon thereupon took the case up to the Civil Service
Commission. In its Resolution dated June 14, 1990 (No. 90-553),
the Commission dismissed the appeal and affirmed the decision of
the Merit Systems Board in Dr. Regino's favor.

On a motion for reconsideration, however, the Commission, by its

At issue in this certiorari proceeding is (a) the validity of the
Resolution No. 90-1012 dated November 14, 1990, set aside the
assumption of jurisdiction by the Regional Trial Court over the
resolution of dismissal and upheld Dr. Mantala's appointment. It
matter of who is entitled, under the law and rules governing the
declared "that insofar as overall rating of the qualification, attitude
civil service, to a contested position in the Department of Health,
and performance (was concerned), Dr. Mantala outscored Dr.
as well as (b) the correctness of said Court's decision on the
Regino," and that the appointing authority is not limited to
promotion in filling up vacancies but may opt to fill them by the
appointment of persons with civil service eligibility appropriate to
It appears that sometime in July, 1988, Dr. Mariquita J. Mantala, a the position. Dr. Regino filed a motion for reconsideration stressing
private medical practitioner, was given by the Secretary of Health a her status as "a qualified next-in-rank" officer. This was denied,
temporary appointment to the then vacant position of Division the Commission declaring that it would "not delve into who is more
Chief, Medical Division III, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of qualified or who possesses more impressive qualifications" in
deference to the discretion lodged by law in the appointing central personnel agency of the Government," 1 having power and
authority. authority to administer the civil service; 2 to promulgate its own
rules concerning pleadings and practice before it or before any of
No appeal was taken from said Resolution No. 90-1012. It its offices; 3 and to render decision in "any case or matter brought
consequently became final and executory. before it within sixty days from the date of its submission for
decision or resolution," which decision, or order or ruling "may be
In the meantime, or more precisely on March 12, 1990, Dr. Regino brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari by the aggrieved party
instituted an action of quo warranto and mandamus in the Regional within thirty days from receipt of a copy thereof." 4
Trial Court at Quezon City against Dr. Mantala, Secretary Bengzon
and other officials of the Department of Health, claiming that On October 9, 1989, pursuant to the constitutional authority on it
having an established right to the position of Division Chief in conferred, the Civil Service Commission, in its Resolution No. 89-
question, she should be installed therein (Civil Case No. Q-90- 779, approved, adopted and promulgated its "Rules on
5486). This resulted in a judgment dated August 30, 1991 which — Administrative Disciplinary Cases and Rules on Protest Cases." Part
B of said Rules, entitled "B. Rules on Protest Cases," inter alia sets
1) annulled and set aside Dr. Mantala's appointment out with particularity the Commission's jurisdiction broadly set
as Chief of Medical Division III in the Tuberculosis forth in the Constitution, to wit:
Control Service, Office for Public Health Services,
Department of Health; Sec. 3. Final Appellate Jurisdiction. — The Civil
Service Commission shall exercise final and exclusive
2) directed the Secretary of Health to withdraw Dr. appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by the
Mantala's appointment and "issue in its place one for Merit Systems Protection Board and the Civil Service
. . . Dr. Julia P. Regino and, without delay, to Regional Offices involving contested appointments or
forward the latter's promotional appointment to the promotions.
Civil Service Commission for approval pursuant to
law;" and and prescribes the procedure (Rule IV) governing protest cases.
Said protest cases are described as follows: 5
3) declared Dr. Mantala "not entitled to said office
and ousting her therefrom . . . (a) An appointment made in favor of another next-
in-rank employee who is not qualified;
Hence this petition for review on certiorari in which it is prayed that
the Regional Trial Court's decision be reversed. (b) An appointment made in favor of one who is not
The petition has merit and will be granted. The decision of August
30, 1991 is fatally flawed. It was rendered without jurisdiction, and (c) An appointment made in favor of one who is
it runs afoul of established doctrine. appointed by transfer and not next-in-rank, or by
reinstatement or by original appointment, if the
Disciplinary cases, and cases involving "personnel actions" employee making the protest is not satisfied with the
affecting employees in the civil service — including "appointment written special reason or reasons given by the
through certification, promotion, transfer, reinstatement, appointing authority for such appointment.
reemployment, detail, reassignment, demotion and separation,"
and, of course, employment status and qualification standards — These protest cases are decided in the first instance by the head of
are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Civil Service Department or agency, subject to appeal to the Merit Systems
Commission. The Constitution declares the Commission to be "the Protection Board, whose decisions are in turn subject to appeal to
the Civil Service Commission. The latter's decision may, in turn, be WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of August 30,
brought to the Supreme Court. 1991, is hereby ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE, and Resolution No.
90-1012 dated November 14, 1990 of the Civil Service Commission
It was thus error, because beyond its competence, for the upholding Dr. Mantala's appointment to the contested position,
respondent Trial Court to take cognizance of the quo which has long since become final and executory, is hereby
warranto and mandamus action instituted by Dr. Regino which was declared to be determinative and conclusive of the controversy at
in essence a protest against the appointment of Dr. Mantala. bar and, if not yet carried out, must now be forthwith executed.
Moreover, this protest, as already stated, had earlier been Costs against private respondent.
submitted by Regino herself to the civil service adjudicatory system
laid down for the purpose in accordance with the Constitution, the SO ORDERED.
law, and the Commission's rules. Dr. Regino appealed to the Merit
Systems Protection Board from the decision of the Secretary of
Health rejecting her protest and upholding the appointment of Dr.
Mantala. She ventilated her position in the appellate proceedings
instituted by Dr. Mantala in the Civil Service Commission, in
connection with the latter's attempt to overthrow the adverse
judgment of the Board. When the Commission, in its Resolution of
November 14, 1990, eventually sustained Dr. Mantala's appeal, Dr.
Regino filed a motion for reconsideration. It was only after the
Resolution of November 14, 1990, in Dr. Mantala's favor,
became final and executory by reason of Dr. Regino's failure to
take an appeal therefrom — and evidently to remedy this fatal
procedural lapse — that the latter thought of filing her quo
warranto and mandamus action in the Regional Trial Court. Such a
stratagem cannot be allowed to succeed.

Even on the merits, Dr. Regino's cause fails. For one thing, the
Commission's conclusion — "that insofar as overall rating of the
qualification, attitude and performance (was concerned), Dr.
Mantala outscored Dr. Regino" — is basically a factual one and may
not be reviewed on certiorari; and its legal opinion — that the
appointing authority is not limited to promotion in filling up
vacancies but may opt to fill them by the appointment of persons
with civil service eligibility appropriate to the position — is entirely
in accord with law. For another, the now firmly established doctrine
is that the discretion exercised by the appointing power in
extending an appointment to a given position to one of two or
more employees possessing the requisite minimum qualifications
for the position, will not generally be interfered with and must be
sustained, and the Civil Service Commission has no authority to
revoke the said appointment simply because it believes that
another employee is better qualified, for that would constitute an
encroachment on the discretion vested sole in the appointing
authority. 6