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Digest: Daza v. Lugo (553 SCRA 532, 2008)

Digest: Daza v. Lugo (553 SCRA 532, 2008)

Facts: Records show that former Governor Madeleine P. Mendoza-Ong of Northern Samar issued an appointment dated March 7, 2001 in favor of respondent Ronan P. Lugo as Sanitation Inspector I under permanent status. The appointment was approved on March 20, 2001 by the CSC Provincial Field Office of Catarman, Northern Samar.

On August 10, 2001, petitioner Raul A. Daza, the newly elected Governor of Northern Samar, issued Memorandum No. 352-01 directing the Department Heads to evaluate the performance of probationary employees (including respondent) under their respective supervisions to determine whether they were qualified to acquire permanent status.

petitioner issued a Memorandum informing respondent that his probationary service was terminated due to his unsatisfactory conduct.

Respondent appealed petitioner's termination order to the CSC, Regional Office VIII (CSCRO VIII).

Issue: Whether CA erred in stating that it was respondent's immediate supervisor who failed to evaluate and submit respondent's Performance Evaluation Report.

Ruling: The Court is not persuaded by petitioner's arguments.

The Constitution provides that "[N]o officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law."  Sec. 26, par. 1, Chapter 5, Book V, Title I-A of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987 states:

All such persons (appointees who meet all the requirements of the position) must serve a probationary period of six months following their original appointment and shall undergo a thorough character investigation in order to acquire permanent civil service status. A probationer may be dropped from the service for unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity any time before the expiration of the probationary period; Provided, That such action is appealable to the Commission.

Thus, the services of respondent as a probationary employee may only be terminated for a just cause, that is, unsatisfactory conduct or want of capacity.

In this case, petitioner's Memorandum No. 352-01 directed to "[a]ll Concerned Office/Department Heads/OICs" on the subject of "evaluation of concerned staff under probationary status" clearly states: ". . . [A]s immediate supervisor, you are directed to evaluate those concerned [probationary] employees using our performance evaluation rating system and to submit a report to the undersigned on or before the end of August 2001."

Hence, the CA correctly stated:

[It is] crystal clear that the above-quoted memorandum [No. 352-01] did not in any manner direct all employees under probationary status, including petitioner, to submit their own Performance Evaluation Report. It would also be absurd for these employees to evaluate their own selves. Thus, if these employees, including petitioner, failed to submit a Performance Evaluation Report to their immediate supervisors, the same cannot be taken against them. Evidently, it was [Lugo's] immediate supervisor who failed to evaluate and submit [Lugo's] Performance Evaluation Report as required by the subject memorandum. On this point is the CSC Regional Officer's findings and conclusion, which We take leave to quote with approval, to wit -

"If indeed the manifestations of xxx Gov. Daza that the immediate supervisor of xxx Lugo failed to submit the required Performance Evaluation Report, is true, the statement therefore, that Lugo had committed 'unsatisfactory conduct' is without basis. For how can one claim unsatisfactory conduct when there was no submitted report detailing the same, which would serve as basis for such finding."

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