RIMANDO A. GANNAPAO,
- versus -
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (CSC), THE CHIEF OF PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, THE SECRETARY OF DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ARIEL G. RONQUILLO, J. WALDEMAR V. VALMORES, JOSE F. ERESTAIN, JR., and KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID, ALL NAMED INDIVIDUALS IN THEIR CAPACITY AS OFFICERS OF THE CSC, RICARDO BARIEN, INOCENCIO M. NAVALLO, LIGAYA M. GANDO, LEA MOLLEDA, FE R. VETONIO, PRIMO V. BABIANO, PATIGA J., JOSE TAEZA, G. DELOS SANTOS, LOSBAES, W., AVE PEDIGLORIO and CRESENCIA ROQUE,
G.R. No. 180141
May 31, 2011
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VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
SPO1 Rimando A. Gannapao appeals the Decision dated
The facts are as follows:
December 22, 1995, respondents Ricardo Barien, Inocencio M. Navallo, Ligaya M.
Gando, Lea Molleda, Fe R. Vetonio, Primo V. Babiano, Patiga J., Jose Taeza, G.
Delos Santos, Losbaes, W., Ave Pediglorio and Cresencia Roque (Barien,
et al.) who are stockholders and board members of United Workers Transport
Corp. (UWTC), filed a verified complaint before the PNP Inspectorate Division
Barien, et al. further alleged that upon orders of Atty. Gironella, the buses regularly driven by them and other stockholders/drivers/workers were confiscated by a task force composed of former drivers, conductors and mechanics led by petitioner. Armed with deadly weapons such as guns and knives, petitioner and his group intimidated and harassed the regular bus drivers and conductors, and took over the buses. Petitioner is not authorized to use his firearm or his authority as police officer to act as bodyguard of Atty. Gironella and to intimidate and coerce the drivers/stockholders and the bus passengers. Barien, et al. thus prayed for the preventive suspension of petitioner, the confiscation of his firearm and his termination after due hearing.
complaint passed a pre-charge investigation with The Inspector General,
Internal Affairs Office (TIG-IAO) of the PNP, and petitioner filed his Answer on
National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Memorandum Circular No. 96-010 dated
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Headquarters finds respondent SPO1 RIMANDO A. GANNAPAO GUILTY of the charge of serious irregularities in the performance of duties, thus, he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of three (3) months suspension from the police service without pay.
motion for reconsideration was likewise denied under the Resolution dated
petitioner brought his case to the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG). In an Order dated
Petitioner then appealed to the CSC claiming that he had been denied due process in the proceedings before the Office of the Legal Service. He also sought to set aside the penalty of three months suspension.
WHEREFORE, the appeal of Rimando A. Gannapao is hereby
DISMISSED. However, the Order dated
thus filed with the CA a Petition for Review with an Urgent Motion for Issuance
of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction. The CA issued a TRO on
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition
is DENIED. The assailed Resolution No.
Hence, this petition.
Petitioner contends that he was denied due process in the proceedings before the Office of the Legal Service of the PNP since no notice and summons were issued for him to answer the charges and no hearing was conducted. He claims that his dismissal was not proper and legal as there was no introduction and presentation of evidence against him and he was not given the opportunity to defend his side. Also, petitioner assails the penalty of dismissal imposed upon him by the CSC, alleging that it was improperly imposed considering the mitigating circumstance of his length of service (14 years at the time the decision of the PNP Director General was rendered).
the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), representing public
respondent CSC, maintains that petitioner was not denied due process. The OSG points out that petitioner answered
the complaint during the pre-charge investigation and when the case was heard
at the Office of the Legal Service, petitioner was given the opportunity to
answer the charges or to submit his supplemental answer or counter-affidavit,
but he instead moved for the dismissal of the case. Atty. Sierra, the hearing
officer of the Office of the Legal Service, also issued a subpoena for
petitioner to appear on
The Court is tasked to resolve the following issues: (1) whether petitioner was denied due process, and (2) whether the CA correctly affirmed the CSC decision modifying the penalty of petitioner from three months suspension to dismissal from the service.
The petition must fail.
Time and again, we have held that the essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard or, as applied to administrative proceedings, an opportunity to explain ones side or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. In the application of the principle of due process, what is sought to be safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the denial of the opportunity to be heard. As long as a party was given the opportunity to defend his interests in due course, he was not denied due process.
Reviewing the records, we find that petitioner was afforded due process during the proceedings before the Office of the Legal Service of the PNP. The pertinent provisions of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular No. 96-010 prescribe the following procedure:
x x x x
D. Pre-Charge Investigation
SECTION 1. Procedure.
4.01 Within three (3) days from the receipt of the complaint, the Command/Unit Inspector, upon directive from the Disciplinary Authority concerned, shall conduct a preliminary inquiry/pre-charge investigation wherein both the complainant and the respondent and their witnesses, if any shall be summoned to appear. x x x After the inquiry, the Command/Unit Inspector shall submit to the Disciplinary Authority concerned his Report of Investigation, together with his recommendation x x x:
x x x x
E. Summary Hearing
SECTION 1. Notification of Charges/Complaint Order to Answer.
5.01 After it has been determined from the results of the pre-charge investigation that the complaint is a proper subject of summary hearing, the respondent PNP member shall be furnished with a copy of the complaint or charges filed against him to include copies of affidavits of witnesses and other documents submitted by the complainant should there be any, and he shall be directed to submit an answer within five (5) days from receipt of the complaint, attaching therewith pertinent documents or evidence in support of his defense.
x x x x
records bear out, petitioner was adequately apprised of the charges filed
against him and he submitted his answer to the complaint while the case was
still under a pre-charge investigation.
When the Office of the Legal Service conducted a summary hearing on the
complaint, petitioner was again duly notified of the proceedings and was given
an opportunity to explain his side.
Extant on the records, particularly in the Resolution dated
Having elevated this case to the Summary Dismissal
Authority of the C,(sic) PNP through the Office of the Legal Service, a hearing
was set by P/SInsp. Eduardo T[.] SIERRA, the Hearing Officer, on
x x x x
claim that he did not file an answer since no subpoena was issued to him thus
deserves scant consideration. Petitioner
had ample opportunity to present his side during the hearing and he was even
advised by the hearing officer that he may file a supplemental answer or a
counter affidavit until
Petitioners assertion that the complainants/witnesses against him have not been cross-examined by him, is likewise bereft of merit. While the right to cross-examine is a vital element of procedural due process, the right does not necessarily require an actual cross examination but merely an opportunity to exercise this right if desired by the party entitled to it. In this case, while Memorandum Circular No. 96-010 provides that the sworn statements of witnesses shall take the place of oral testimony but shall be subject to cross-examination, petitioner missed this opportunity precisely because he did not appear at the deadline for the filing of his supplemental answer or counter-affidavit, and accordingly the hearing officer considered the case submitted for decision. And even with the grant of his subsequent motion to be furnished with copy of complaint and its annexes, he still failed to file a supplemental answer or counter-affidavit and instead filed a motion to dismiss reiterating the previous recommendation for dismissal made by Atty. Casugbo. Moreover, after the PNP Director General rendered his decision, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied. He was also able to appeal from the decision of the PNP Director General to the DILG Secretary, and eventually to the CSC. We have held that the fact that a party filed motions for reconsideration and appeals with the tribunals below, in which she presented her arguments and through which she could have proffered her evidence, if any, negates her claim that she was denied opportunity to be heard.
As to the second issue, we hold that the CA did not err in affirming the CSC ruling which modified the penalty imposed by the PNP Director General as affirmed by the DILG Secretary, from three months suspension to dismissal.
Under Memorandum Circular No. 93-024 (Guidelines in the Application of Penalties in Police Administrative Cases), the following acts of any member of the PNP are considered Grave Offenses:
x x x x
C. The following are Grave Offenses:
x x x x
Serious Irregularities in the Performance of Duties. This is incurred by any member of the PNP who shall:
x x x x
c. act as bodyguard or security guard for the person or property of any public official, or private person unless approved by the proper authorities concerned;
x x x x (Emphasis ours.)
The CSC found that petitioner indeed worked for Atty. Gironella as the latters bodyguard -- at least during the relevant period, from April 1995 up to December 1995 when Barien, et al. filed their verified complaint before the Inspectorate Division on the basis of the following:
1) Certification of the San Jose Del Monte Police Station and the police blotter entries Nos. 6050-95 and 6051-95 dated November 22, 1995 as certified by SPO2 Rafael delos Reyes;
2) A document reflecting the payment made to SPO1 Rimando Gannapao as security signed by Atty. Gironella;
3) A document changing the name of the payee to Reynaldo instead of Rimando signed by Atty. Gironella; and
4) Affidavits of Primo Babiano, Ricardo Barien, Cresencia Roque and Jocelyn Evangelista.
On the other hand, petitioner
presented the Certification dated
Petitioner reiterates that it was his twin brother Reynaldo whom Barien, et al. encountered during the incident when their buses were confiscated by armed men in October 1995. He submitted a photograph of his twin brother but this was not given credence by the CSC. Before the CA, petitioner also attached a photograph of himself together with his alleged twin brother Reynaldo, as well as birth certificates issued by the Local Civil Registrar of Salcedo, Ilocos Sur stating their similar dates of birth and parents, and the affidavit of Reynaldo Gannapao. However, there was no certification issued by UWTC that Reynaldo Gannapao was indeed employed therein for the period relevant to this case, nor any document evidencing receipt of his wages or salary from UWTC. Also, the police blotter entries dated October 13, 1995 and November 22, 1995 tend to support the claim of Barien, et al. that Atty. Gironella threatened them when they complained of his mismanagement of company funds and that in this conflict, petitioner had used his firearm and authority as police officer to lead in the taking of the MMTC buses from UWTC drivers and conductors. Thus, even assuming that petitioner in fact had a twin brother by the name of Reynaldo, Barien, et al. in their sworn statements categorically pointed to him, not his twin brother, as the one leading the armed group sent by Atty. Gironella to confiscate their buses and acted as bodyguard of Atty. Gironella. Barien, et al. positively identified him as the police officer with officially issued firearm who actively assisted Atty. Gironella and committed acts of harassment which were narrated in the verified complaint and sworn statements executed by respondents Primo Babiano, Ricardo C. Barien, Cresencia Roque and Jocelyn Evangelista. Consequently, no error was committed by the CSC in giving more weight to the positive declarations of Barien, et al. than the denials of petitioner.
In his motion for reconsideration of the decision rendered by PNP Director General Sarmiento, petitioner attached the alleged affidavits of desistance executed by Babiano, Roque and Avelino Pediglorio. Director Alio, however, in denying the motion found these insignificant and not credible considering that Babianos signature in the April 12, 1996 retraction was starkly different from his original January 2, 1996 sworn statement while the supposed affidavit of desistance of Roque dated October 14, 1997 should have already been alleged or submitted by him before Director General Sarmiento rendered his decision on November 26, 1997.
The CSC, on appeal, likewise gave
scant weight to the alleged retraction of some of the respondents. It noted that respondents Inocencio M.
Navallo, Ligaya Gando, Lea Molleda, Fe R. Vetonio,
Jose Taeza, among others did not desist from pursuing the case. Before the CA, petitioner submitted a joint
affidavit of desistance dated
As a rule, administrative agencies factual findings that are affirmed by the Court of Appeals are conclusive on the parties and not reviewable by this Court, except only for very compelling reasons. Where the findings of the administrative body are amply supported by substantial evidence, such findings are accorded not only respect but also finality, and are binding on this Court. It is not for the reviewing court to weigh the conflicting evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses, or otherwise substitute its own judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of evidence. We find no cogent reason to deviate from the general rule in this case.
As mentioned, acting as private bodyguard without approval of the proper authorities is classified as a grave offense. Memorandum Circular No. 93-024 (Guidelines in the Application of Penalties in Police Administrative Cases) provides for the following schedule of penalties:
SEC. 2. Schedule of Penalties. - The penalties for light, less grave, and grave offenses shall be made in accordance with the following schedule:
x x x x
C. For Grave Offenses:
a. Maximum suspension imposable (minimum period);
b. Forced Resignation/Demotion of not more than one (1) rank (medium period);
c. Dismissal (maximum period).
x x x x
SEC. 4. Qualifying Circumstances. In the determination of the penalties to be imposed, mitigating and aggravating circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense shall be considered:
The following are mitigating circumstances:
a. physical illness
b. good faith
c. length of service in the government
d. analogous circumstances.
x x x x
In refusing to be swayed by petitioners argument that his fourteen (14) years of service in government with no record of previous administrative offense should have mitigated his liability, the CSC held:
The Commission finds the act of Gannapao of serving as a bodyguard of UTWC General Manager Atty. Gironella and harassing the bus drivers of the said agency so grave that the decision of then DILG Secretary Alfredo S. Lim, affirming his suspension from the service for three (3) months is modified to dismissal from the service.
In the case of University
We do not agree that private respondents length of service and the fact that it was her first offense shall be taken into account. Respondent Commission failed to consider that private respondent committed not only one act, but a series of acts which were deliberately committed over a number of years while respondent was in the service. These acts were of the gravest character which strikes at the very integrity and prestige of the University.
It must be emphasized that the PNP, as an institution, was organized to ensure accountability and uprightness in the exercise of police discretion as well as to achieve efficiency and effectiveness of its members and units in the performance of their functions thus, its leadership would be well within its right to cleanse itself of wrongdoers.
Public respondent CSC did not err in not considering length of service as a mitigating circumstance and in imposing the maximum penalty of dismissal on the petitioner. Length of service as a factor in determining the imposable penalty in administrative cases is a double-edged sword. Despite the language of Section 4 of Memorandum Circular No. 93-024, length of service is not always a mitigating circumstance in every case of commission of an administrative offense by a public officer or employee.
Length of service is an alternative circumstance which can mitigate or possibly even aggravate the penalty, depending on the circumstances of the case. Section 53, Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, grants the disciplining authority the discretion to consider mitigating circumstances in the imposition of the proper penalty. Said rule provides thus:
SEC. 53. Extenuating, Mitigating, Aggravating, or Alternative Circumstances. In the determination of the penalties to be imposed, mitigating, aggravating and alternative circumstances attendant to the commission of the offense shall be considered.
The following circumstances shall be appreciated:
a. Physical illness
b. Good faith
c. Taking undue advantage of official position
d. Taking undue advantage of subordinate
e. Undue disclosure of confidential information
f. Use of government property in the commission of the offense
h. Offense is committed during office hours and within the premises of the office or building
i. Employment of fraudulent means to commit or conceal the offense
j. Length of service in the government
k. Education, or
l. Other analogous circumstances (Emphasis ours.)
In University of the Philippines v. Civil Service Commission, cited by CSC, we did not consider length of service in favor of the private respondent; instead, we took it against said respondent because her length of service, among other things, helped her in the commission of the offense.
Where the government employee concerned took advantage of long years of service and position in public office, length of service may not be considered in lowering the penalty. This Court has invariably taken this circumstance against the respondent public officer or employee in administrative cases involving serious offenses, even if it was the first time said public officer or employee was administratively charged. Thus, we held in Civil Service Commission v. Cortez:
CSC is correct that length of service should be taken against the
respondent. Length of service is not a
magic word that, once invoked, will automatically be considered as a mitigating
circumstance in favor of the party invoking it.
Length of service can either be a mitigating or aggravating circumstance
depending on the factual milieu of
each case. Length of service, in other
words, is an alternative circumstance.
That this is so is clear in Section 53 of the Uniform Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, which amended the Omnibus Civil
Service Rules and Regulations dated
x x x x
Moreover, a review of jurisprudence shows that, although in most cases length of service is considered in favor of the respondent, it is not considered where the offense committed is found to be serious. x x x
x x x x
x x x we cannot also consider length of service in favor of the respondent because of the gravity of the offense she committed and the fact that it was her length of service in the CSC which helped her in the commission of the offense.
x x x x
x x x it is clear from the ruling of the CSC that respondents act irreparably tarnished the integrity of the CSC. x x x
x x x x
The gravity of the offense committed is also the reason why we cannot consider the first offense circumstance invoked by respondent. In several cases, we imposed the heavier penalty of dismissal or a fine of more than P20,000, considering the gravity of the offense committed, even if the offense charged was respondents first offense. Thus, in the present case, even though the offense respondent was found guilty of was her first offense, the gravity thereof outweighs the fact that it was her first offense. (Emphasis ours.)
Petitioner contends that this case should be distinguished from University of the Philippines v. Civil Service Commission because he was not committing any crime assuming he served a bodyguard, was not in uniform or in the performance of duty there being no such allegation in the complaint, and was not deceiving or cheating anybody. Even the ruling in Civil Service Commission v. Cortez is not applicable since the respondent therein committed acts of dishonesty.
We are not persuaded.
As already pointed out, Serious Irregularities in the Performance of Duties, like those offenses (e.g., Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service) enumerated under Section 52 (A) of the Civil Service Law, is a grave offense. Grave offenses have the most deleterious effects on government service. By acting as a private bodyguard without approval by the proper authorities for several months, petitioner reneged on his primary duties to the community in the maintenance of peace and order and public safety. Such mercenary tendencies undermine the effectivity and integrity of a national police force committed to provide protection and assistance to citizens in times of danger and emergency. But what is worse, petitioner allowed himself to be used in perpetrating violence and intimidation upon ordinary workers embroiled in a legal conflict with management.
Petitioner apparently failed to grasp the gravity of his transgression which, not only impacts negatively on the image of the PNP, but also reflects the depravity of his character. Under the circumstances, the Court cannot consider in his favor his fourteen (14) years in the police service and his being a first time offender. The CSC thus correctly imposed on him the maximum penalty of dismissal. Pursuant to Section 6 of Memorandum Circular No. 93-024, the penalty of dismissal, which results in the separation of the respondent from the service, shall carry with it the cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and the disqualification from reemployment in the police service.
petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The Decision dated
With costs against the petitioner.
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
RENATO C. CORONA
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
ARTURO D. BRION
DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
(On official leave)
ROBERTO A. ABAD
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
RENATO C. CORONA
* On leave.
** On official leave.
pp. 27-38. Penned by Associate
Justice Ricardo R. Rosario with Associate Justices Rebecca De Guia-
 CA rollo, pp. 36-47.
 Rules and Regulations in the Disposition of Administrative Cases Involving PNP Members Before the PNP Disciplinary Authorities.
 CA rollo, p. 94.
 Rollo, pp. 58-61.
 CA rollo, pp. 115-119.
 Rollo, p. 29.
 CA rollo, p. 140.
 CA rollo, p. 47.
Service Commission v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 159696,
 Rollo, p. 37.
v. Varilla, G.R. No. 180146,
 Cayago v. Lina, G.R. No. 149539, January 19, 2005, 449 SCRA 29, 45, citing Rodriguez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 134278, August 7, 2002, 386 SCRA 492, 499-500.
 CA rollo, pp. 115-119.
 See Garcia v. Pajaro, G.R. No.
 Philippine Banking Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127469, January 15, 2004, 419 SCRA 487, 503.
 Batongbakal v. Zafra, G.R. No. 141806,
 CA rollo, pp. 83-84, 109.
 Rollo, pp. 169-170.
 CA rollo, p. 125.
Resolution No. 991936 dated
 CA rollo, pp. 44-45.
 Section 2. (1) The civil service embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters.
 Miralles v. Go, G.R. No. 139943,
 Manotok IV v. Heirs of Homer L. Barque, G.R. Nos. 162335 & 162605, December 12, 2005, 477 SCRA 339, 355.
 Nacu v. Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 187752, November 23, 2010, p. 16, citing Remolona v. Civil Service Commission, 414 Phil. 590, 601 (2001).
 Adopted November 1993.
 CA rollo, pp. 46-47.
 Narvasa v. Sanchez, Jr., G.R. No.
 Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau, Office of the Ombudsman v. Campaa, G.R. No. 173865, August 20, 2008, 562 SCRA 680, 691, citing Gonzales v. Civil Service Commission, G.R. No. 156253, June 15, 2006, 490 SCRA741, 749; CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19-99, Rule IV, Section 53(J) and Re: Failure of Jose Dante E. Guerrero to Register His Time In and Out in Chronolog Time Recorder Machine on Several Dates, A.M. No. 2005-07-SC, April 19, 2006, 487 SCRA 352, 367.
 Supra note 48.
 Supra note 49.