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Appointive Official

De Rama vs CA
Case Digest: G.R. No. 131136. February 28, 2001
Conrado L. De Rama, petitioner, vs. The Court Of Appeals (Ninth Division, The Civil
Service Commission), Eladio Martinez, Divino De Jesus, Morell Ayala, Aristeo Catalla,
Daisy Porta, Flordeliza Oriasel, Graciela Glory, Felecidad Orinday, Ma. Petra Muffet Luce,
Elsa Marino, Bernardita Mendoza, Jane Macatangay, Adelfo Glodoviza and Florino
Ramos, respondents.
Facts: Upon his assumption to the position of Mayor of Pagbilao, Quezon, petitioner
Conrado L. de Rama wrote a letter dated July 13, 1995 to the Civil Service Commission (or
CSC), seeking the recall of the appointments of fourteen (14) municipal employees.
Justifying his recall request on the allegation that the appointments of the said employees
were midnight appointments of the former mayor, Ma. Evelyn S. Abeja, done in violation
of Article VII, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution. The CSC denied petitioners request for
the recall of the appointments of the fourteen employees, for lack of merit. The CSC upheld
the validity of the appointments on the ground that they had already been approved by the
Head of the CSC Field Office in Lucena City, and for petitioners failure to present evidence
that would warrant the revocation or recall of the said appointments.
Issue: whether or not the recall made by petitioner is valid.
Ruling: No. It is the CSC that is authorized to recall an appointment initially approved, but
only when such appointment and approval are proven to be in disregard of applicable
provisions of the civil service law and regulations. Rule V, Section 9 of the Omnibus
Implementing Regulations of the Revised Administrative Code specifically provides that an
appointment accepted by the appointee cannot be withdrawn or revoked by the appointing
authority and shall remain in force and in effect until disapproved by the Commission.
Accordingly, the appointments of the private respondents may only be recalled on the
following grounds: (a) Non-compliance with the procedures/criteria provided in the agencys
Merit Promotion Plan; (b) Failure to pass through the agencys Selection/Promotion Board;
(c) Violation of the existing collective agreement between management and employees
relative to promotion; or (d) Violation of other existing civil service law, rules and
regulations.
Posted by Brandon Mentol

Private Counsels
ALINSUG v RTC
FACTS
: Zonsayda L. Alinsug, had been a regular employee of the municipal government of
Escalante, Negros Occidental, when she received a permanent appointment as Clerk III in the
office of the Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator of the same municipality. She
absentedherself from work to attend to family matters. She had asked permission from the
personnel officer but not from the mayor. Mayor Ponsica issuedOffice Order No. 31,
suspending Zonsayda for one month and one day commencing on 24 June 1992 for "a simple
misconduct which can also becategorized as an act of insubordination." The order also stated
that the suspension "carries with it forfeiture of . . . benefits such as . . . salary andPERA and
leave credits during the duration of its effectivity." Zonsayda filed with the Regional Trial
Court of Negros Occidental, in San Carlos City,a petition, for "injunction with damages and
prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction" against Mayor Ponsica and
themunicipal treasurer. Mayor Ponsica and the municipal treasurer filed an answer to the
petition, through private practitioner Samuel SM Lezama,alleging that the petitioner had not
exhausted administrative remedies and that her suspension was in accordance with law.
ISSUE
: WON a private counsel may represent municipal officials sued in their official capacities?
HELD
: The appointment of a legal officer shall bemandatory for the provincial and city
governments and optional for the municipal government
. Section 481, Article 11 of Title V of the Local Government Code, paragraph (i) states one of
the functions of the legal officer :
(i) Represent the local government unit in all civil actions and special proceedings wherein
the local government unit or anyofficial thereof, in his official capacity, is a party:
Provided , that in actions or proceedings where a component city or municipality is a party
adverse to the provincial government or to another component city or municipality, a special
legalofficer may be employed to represent the adverse party.Indeed, it appears that the law
allows a private counsel to be hired by a municipality only when the municipality is an
adverse party in a case involving the provincial government or another municipality or city
within the province. This provision has its apparent origin in the ruling in DeGuia v. The
Auditor General where the Court held that the municipality's authority to employ a private
attorney is expressly limited only to situations where the provincial fiscal would be
disqualified to serve and represent it. With Sec. 1683 of the old Administrative Code as legal
basis, the Court therein cited Enriquez, Sr. v. Gimenez which enumerated instances when the
provincial fiscal is disqualified to represent in court a particular municipality; if and when

original jurisdiction of case involving the municipality is vested in the Supreme Court, when
the municipality is a party adverse to the provincial government or to some other
municipality in the same province, and when, in a case involving the municipality, he, or his
wife, or child, is pecuniary involved, as heir legatee, creditor or otherwise.
MUNICIPALITY OF PILILLA, RIZAL vs. COURT OF APPEALS
REGALADO, J.:
Facts: Atty. Felix E. Mendiola served as counsel for the Municipality of Pililia in a collection
suit for unpaid business taxes, storage permit fee, mayors permit fee, sanitary inspection fee,
and the cost of the suit against private respondent Philippine Petroleum Corporation (PPC).
The municipality won in the trial court, and when PPC elevated the case to the Supreme
Court, the SC affirmed the aforesaid judgment. The judgment became final and executory and
the records were remanded to the trial court for execution.
In connection with the execution of said judgment, Atty. Felix E. Mendiola filed a motion in
behalf of the municipality for the examination of defendant corporation's gross sales for the
years 1976 to 1978 and 1984 to 1991 for the purpose of computing business tax. Defendant
corporation filed a manifestation that Pililla Mayor Nicomedes Patenia received from it the
sum of P11,457,907.00 as full satisfaction of the above-mentioned judgment of the Supreme
Court, as evidence by the release and quitclaim documents executed by said mayor. The RTC
denied the municipality's motion for examination and execution of judgment on the ground
that the judgment had already been satisfied.
It was when the case was only when the case was brought before to the CA that respondent
PPC filed a motion questioning Atty. Mendiola's authority to represent petitioner
municipality. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for having been filed by a private
counsel in violation of law and jurisprudence, but without prejudice to the filing of a similar
petition by the Municipality of Pililla through the proper provincial or municipal legal officer.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Mendiola can represent the Municipality of Pilila
Held: No. The Court of Appeals is correct in holding that Atty. Mendiola has no authority to
file a petition in behalf of and in the name of the Municipality of Pililla. Section 1683 of the
Revised Administrative Code provides:
Section 1683. Duty of fiscal to represent provinces and provincial subdivisions in
litigation. The provincial fiscal shall represent the province and any municipality
or municipal district thereof in any court, except in cases whereof original jurisdiction
is vested in the Supreme Court or in cases where the municipality or municipal district
in question is a party adverse to the provincial government or to some other
municipality or municipal district in the same province. When the interests of a
provincial government and of any political division thereof are opposed, the
provincial fiscal shall act on behalf of the province.

When the provincial fiscal is disqualified to serve any municipality or other political
subdivision of a province, a special attorney may be employed by its council.
Only the provincial fiscal and the municipal attorney can represent a province or municipality
in their lawsuits. The provision is mandatory. The municipality's authority to employ a private
lawyer is expressly limited only to situations where the provincial fiscal is disqualified to
represent it.
The fact that the provincial fiscal was disqualified to handle the municipality's case must
appear on record. In the case, there is nothing in the records to show that the provincial fiscal
is disqualified to act as counsel for the Municipality of Pililla on appeal, hence the
appearance of herein private counsel is without authority of law.
The submission of Atty. Mendiola that the exception is broad enough to apply to situations
where the provincial fiscal refuses to handle the case cannot be sustained. The fiscal's refusal
to represent the municipality is not a legal justification. A fiscal cannot refuse to perform his
functions on grounds not provided for by law without violating his oath of office. Instead of
engaging the services of a special attorney, the municipal council should request the Secretary
of Justice to appoint an acting provincial fiscal in place of the provincial fiscal who has
declined to handle and prosecute its case in court.
It should also be noted that the lack of authority of Atty. Mendiola, was even raised by the
municipality itself in its comment and opposition to said counsel's motion for execution of his
lien, which was filed by the office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Rizal in behalf of said
municipality.
The contention of Atty. Mendiola that private respondent cannot raise for the first time on
appeal his lack of authority to represent the municipality is untenable. The legality of his
representation can be questioned at any stage of the proceedings.
Also, even assuming that the representation of the municipality by Atty. Mendiola was duly
authorized, said authority is deemed to have been revoked by the municipality when the
latter, through the municipal mayor and without said counsel's participation, entered into a
compromise agreement with PPC.
WHEREFORE, the petition at bar is DENIED for lack of merit and the judgment of
respondent Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.

Ramos vs CA (GR 99425)


Private attorneys cannot represent a province or municipality in lawsuits. Law allows a
private counsel to be hired by a municipality only when the municipality is an adverse party
in a case involving the provincial government or another municipality or city within the

province. Only accountable public officers may act for and in behalf of public entities and
that public funds should not be expanded to hire private lawyers.

Salalima v. Guingona
GR No. 117589-92, May 22 1996
FACTS:
This Supreme Court case involves four administrative complaints filed against Albay
Governor Salalima and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay. The
complaints seek to hold the petitioners liable for a) wanton disregard of law amounting to
abuse of authority in OP case 5470; b) grave abuse of authority under Section 60 (e) of the
Local Government Code in OP cae 5649; c) oppression and abuse of authority under Section
60 (c) and (e) of the Local Government Code in OP case 5471 and d) abuse of authority and
negligence in OP case 5450. Relevant to our discussion on whether or not LGUs can hire
private lawyers in cases filed against it is OP case 5469.
The Province of Albay imposed real property tax against the National Power
Corporation. The latter, claiming that it is tax exempt, refused to pay the said tax liability.
Due to its refusal to pay, the Province of Albay took over the properties of NPC and sold
them in an auction sale. The Province was the sole bidder. Upon the failure of NPC to redeem
the property, the Province sought the issuance of a writ of possession from the Regional Trial
Court. The NPC challenged this in a petition filed with the Supreme Court. The Province,
through its legal office Atty. Ricaforte, filed its comment on the said petition on May 17,
1989.
On June 2, 1989, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan issued Resolution No. 129-89,
authorizing Salalima to engage the services of a Manila-based law firm to handle the case. As
such, on August 25, 1989, Atty. Jesus Carnago entered his appearance with the SC as a
collaborating counsel. On November 14, 1989, Atty. Antonio Jose Cortes of Cortes and
Reyna Law Firm sent a letter to Salalima, informing him that Atty. Carnago had filed a
memorandum in the SC. He then proposed that his law firm and that of Atty. Carnago enter
into a retainer agreement with the Province in connection with the case. He charged 50, 000
as acceptance fee and a contingency fee of 18%. In response to this, the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan passed Resolution No. 01-90 authorizing Salalima to sign a retainer contract
with Cortes and Reyna Law Firm.
On June 4, 1990, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Province. The latter then
paid the lawyers amounting to around 7 million. However, on May 31, 1993, the Provincial
Auditor informed the Province that COA had disallowed the payments for lack of prior

written conformity of the Solicitor General and a written concurrence of COA. An


administrative complaint was later on filed against the petitioners with the Office of the
President.
The OP found that the petitioners incurred administrative liability in hiring private
lawyers to defend it in the NPC case.
OPs RATIO
1. Section 481 of the LGC states that the legal officer of the province has the duty to
represent the LGU in all civil actions and special proceedings wherein the LGU or
any official thereof, in his official capacity, is a party.
2. In the case Municipality of Bocaue v. Manotok, the Supreme Court ruled that the
LGU cannot be represented by private lawyers and it is solely the Provincial legal
officer or provincial fiscal who can represent it. A private lawyer has no standing in
such a case.
3. Sec. 481 and Municipality of Bocaue v. Manotok are applicable in this case. In hiring
the private lawyers, the petitioners violated the LGC and the doctrine laid down by
the Supreme court.
4. Moreover, the transaction was also full of irregularities.
a. The disbursement of 7M as payment was disallowed by COA for failure to
comply with the prerequisite conformity from the SolGen and the COA.
b. Resolution 01-90 authorized Salalima to contract with Cortes and Reyna Law
Firm and NOT with Atty. Carnago. Salalima exceeded the authority given to him
in doing so.
c. Only Atty. Carnago appeared as counsel in the NPC case. It appears that Cortes
and Reyna did not render any form of legal service in relation thereto.
d. The provincial legal officer had already filed a comment in the SC. What Carnago
filed was merely a memorandum. The total attorneys fees of 38 Million is clearly
unconscionable.
Because of these findings, the OP imposed the penalty of suspension for 6 months
against Gov. Salalima and Vice governor Azana, while the members of the SP
were suspended for 4 months. The petitioners appealed the case to the SC. In the
meantime, the 1992 elections took place wherein the petitioners were reelected.
ISSUE: WON the petitioners incurred administrative liabilities in hiring private lawyers to
represent the Province
HELD: Whether or not they incurred liabilities, they can no longer be held to answer for
these in view of the fact that they have already been reelected. Their reelection operates as
condonation of any misconduct committed in their prior term.
RATIO
In Pascual v. Pascual, the SC ruled that offenses committed or acts done in a previous
term are generally held not to furnish a cause for removal in the current term of office. This is

because each term is separate from other terms and that the reelection operates as a
condonation of the officers previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to
remove him therefore. Such a rule is founded on the theory that an officials reelection
expresses the sovereign will of the electorate to forgive or condone any act or omission
constituting a ground for administrative discipline which was committed during the previous
term. Also, sound policy dictates such a rule. A contrary rule would open the floodgates to
exacerbating endless partisan contests between reelected officials and their political enemies
who may not stop to hound the former during his new term with administrative cases for acts
alleged to have been committed during his previous term.
RULING: OP Decision imposing penalties is reversed and set aside