CSC to N. Vizcaya gov: comply or face sanctions
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya–The Civil Service Commission has issued a final warning to Gov. Ruth Padilla over her alleged failure to abide by the commission’s order that affirmed the appointments and promotions of 62 permanent employees she illegally dismissed and demoted in 2013.
In a resolution, the CSC directed Padilla to “fully implement” its March 17 decision reinstating the employees to their former positions, and to pay them their back salaries from the time they were ousted from their posts.
The CSC also gave Padilla 10 days to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for failure to implement “a lawful order”.
“Her failure to comply with this order within the specified period shall be considered a waiver thereof and appropriate action will be rendered based on the available records,” the CSC said, through Commissioner Robert Martinez.
In a petition dated May 7, the dismissed employees have asked the CSC to cite Padilla in indirect contempt after she allegedly defied the commission’s order, despite notices from the CSC regional office and the employees’ counsel.
Instead of complying, Padilla went on a leave of absence for a 12-day “personal travel” to Japan, the complainants said.
“(The fact that) the CSC decision has not been implemented up to the present is a crystalline willful and contumacious refusal and failure on the part of (Padilla) to comply with lawful orders of (the CSC),” the complaint read in part.
The controversy arose when Padilla, on her first day in office on July 1, 2013, issued an executive order that “revoked, recalled and withdrew” more than 300 appointments and promotions approved by her predecessor and political rival, former Gov. Luisa Lloren-Cuaresma.
The number of affected employees was later trimmed to only 180, after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), citing the governor’s EO, slashed funds for the salaries of employees whose appointments were made in 2013.
Out of this number, only 80 questioned Padilla’s order. The rest of the affected workers either chose to resign, or waived their right to appeal their appointments, while others re-applied as casual employees.
After more than 20 months, the CSC in March handed down a decision which revoked Padilla’s order, and affirmed the appointments, except those of 18 employees who were appointed after the May 11, 2013 elections.
“All told, it is clear that Governor Padilla overstepped her authority by arrogating unto herself a power which, by clear mandate of the law, resides in the commission,” the CSC said in that ruling.
Padilla, as well as the 18 employees, have separately elevated their cases to the Court of Appeals.
In the explanation she submitted to the CSC on Tuesday, Padilla said she “obeys and will always obey” lawful orders from the commission, citing her earlier order to create an “ad hoc team” which, she said, was meant to ensure the “smooth implementation” of the CSC ruling.
In addition, Padilla said, she has endorsed to the provincial board the recommendation of the province’s local finance committee which certified that funds are available to pay the employees’ back salaries from 2013 to 2014.
However, the governor said she cannot immediately order the payment because it would still require the passage of an appropriation ordinance, which, she said, was “beyond (my) control”.
“(I) cannot impose upon the (SP) nor compel the passage of an ordinance, otherwise, (my) act will constitute an impermissible violation of the Local Government Code. What (I) can only do is to wait for the (SP) to appropriate funds before (I) can effect payment,” she said.
The employees, however, dismissed Padilla’s contentions.
“The governor needs to show her sincerity that she was really bent on paying in full our salaries. She can do so by notifying the SP of the urgency to pass the budget, like what she did when she endorsed the operation of Small Town Lottery in the province,” said an employee at the provincial agriculture office.#
Published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 6, 2015.