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Digest: Garcia v. Pajaro (384 SCRA 122, 2002)

Digest: Garcia v. Pajaro (384 SCRA 122, 2002)

The city treasurer of Dagupan has the authority to institute disciplinary actions against subordinate officers or employees. The essence of due process in an administrative proceeding is the opportunity to explain one’s side, whether written or verbal. The constitutional mandate is satisfied when a petitioner complaining about an action or a ruling is granted an opportunity to seek reconsideration.

Facts: "Evidence for the petitioner tends to show that petitioner SEBASTIAN GARCIA, 61, married, employee at the City Treasurer’s Office, Dagupan City and resident of Lucao, Dagupan City, has been employee thereat since June 15, 1974 as Revenue Collector appointed to that position by then City Mayor Cipriano Manaois. He was ordered suspended by City Treasurer Juanito Pajaro from June 1, 1990 to March 15, 1992 and directed the withholding of his salary because of the Formal Charge filed against him. He resumed work on March 16, 1992 as Local Treasury Officer III. When he was suspended, his position was Local Treasury Officer and Revenue Officer with a salary of P6,800.00 a month. When he resumed work, his salary was already P7,615.00 monthly. From June 1, 1990 up to March 15, 1992, he had been reporting for work because he did not honor the suspension order as the City Treasurer acted as the complainant, investigator and judge and there was no complaint against him from the Office of the City Mayor. He did not believe in the Order; he did not submit himself for investigation. He was not paid his salary because of the suspension order which caused his sleepless nights, his two (2) children stopped schooling, he has to beg from his relatives. He has a wife with four (4) children in college, one in Commerce, another taking up Dentistry. During the 1990 earthquake, there was calamity loan granted to employees but he could not avail of it because the City Treasurer would not approve the loan. He is asking P1,000,000.00 for his mental anguish and sufferings. From July to October, 1987 the City Treasurer refused to give him his COLA, differential, cash gift, salary and mid-year bonus amounting to P6,800.00 up to the present. His salary now is P13,715.00 as Treasury Officer III. Contrary to the charges of the City Treasurer, he has been doing his duties and obligations; that for the acts of charging him in the Department of Finance and for charging him for neglect of duties, he felt deeply hurt and is asking P250,000.00 for that; his agreement with his counsel is P25% of what will be awarded to him.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

Issue: Is the respondent personally liable for the damages suffered by the petitioner

Ruling:  the extant rule is that a public officer shall not be liable by way of moral and exemplary damages for acts done in the performance of official duties, unless there is a clear showing of bad faith, malice or gross negligence.

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