CASE: CAMPOL vs. BALAO-AS  and SIANEN (G.R. No. 197634, November 28, 2016)

PONENTE: JARDELEZA, J.:

FACTS: Campol served the Municipality of Boliney, Abra since 1999 as Secretary to the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).

The SB passed a resolution terminating Campol as SB Secretary on the ground that he was absent without approved leave from August 1, 2004 to September 30, 2004.  Sianen, the Municiopal Vice Mayor, issued a Memorandum, which dropped Campol from the rolls.

Campol challenged this memorandum before the CSC-CAR, which ruled in his favor.Sianen, in tum, elevated the matter before the CSC. The CSC granted his appeal and ruled that Campol was properly dropped from the rolls.

Campol filed a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court before the CA.

The CA, in its Decision, reversed the CSC. The CA ruled that no ground exists to justify Campol’s dismissal.However, while the CA ruled that Campol was illegally dropped from the rolls, it refused to order his reinstatement. The CA reasoned that since Campol was already gainfully employed with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) since October 2005, reinstatement was no longer possible. It also held that Campol is entitled to backwages only from the time of his dismissal until October 2005, prior to his employment with another government agency.

Campol filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari  challenging the CA’s refusal to order his reinstatement. He also asserts that the CA erred in ordering the payment of his backwages only up to October 2005.

ISSUE:Whether Campol is entitled to reinstatement and to the payment of his backwages from the time of his dismissal until he is reinstated.

RULING:
As to Campol’s reinstatement: Campol should be reinstated to his position as SB Secretary. His employment in other government agencies is no hindrance to his reinstatement. Campol had the right to live during his appeal which necessarily means that he can accept any form of employment.

In the event that another person has already been appointed to his post, our ruling in Tañala should apply. In the eyes of the law, the position never became vacant since Campol was illegally dropped from the rolls. Hence, the incumbency of the person who assumed the position is only temporary and must give way to Campol whose right to the office has been recognized by the proper authorities.

As to the Right Backwages: Campol is entitled to the payment of backwages from the time of his illegal dismissal until he is reinstated to his position. The CA erred in ruling that the backwages should only cover the period of his illegal dismissal until his new employment with the PAO.

(New Ruling) An employee of the civil service who is ordered reinstated is also entitled to the full payment of his or her backwages during the entire period of time that he or she was wrongfully prevented from performing the duties of his or her position and from enjoying its benefits. This is necessarily so because, in the eyes of the law, the employee never truly left the office. (Old Rule) Fixing the backwages to five years or to the period of time until the employee found a new employment is not a full recompense for the damage done by the illegal dismissal of an employee. Worse, it effectively punishes an employee for being dismissed without his or her fault.

This entitlement to full backwages also means that there is no need to deduct Campol’s earnings from his employment with PAO from the award. The right to receive full backwages means exactly this- that it corresponds to Campol’s salary at the time of his dismissal until his reinstatement. Any income he may have obtained during the litigation of the case shall not be deducted from this amount.

At the same time, an employer who illegally dismisses an employee has the obligation to pay him or her what he or she should have received had the illegal act not be done. It is an employer’s price or penalty for illegally dismissing an employee.
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THINGS DECIDED:

a)  An illegally dismissed employee has to right to be reinstated. His employment to other agencies is no hindrance to his reinstatement. A dismissed employee had the right to live during his appeal which necessarily means that he can accept any form of employment.

b) An employee of the civil service who is ordered reinstated is also entitled to the full payment of his or her backwages during the entire period of time that he or she was wrongfully prevented from performing the duties of his or her position and from enjoying its benefits.

c) Please note: The old rule fixing the backwages to five years or to the period of time until the employee found a new employment was abandoned by the Supreme Court.

          ‘Stand by things decided’ ~ Stare Decisis

See Full Text:  CAMPOL vs. BALAO-AS  and SIANEN (G.R. No. 197634, November 28, 2016)

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