The 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service was promulgated by the Civil Service Commission on August 2, 2017 and became in full effect on August 18, 2017. From that time, I was given about two opportunities to talk about the new rules but I’ve never really had the time to write about it here. Sorry but here I am making it up to my loyal (few) readers.
Just last November 27-28, 2017, the Commission spearheaded an internal seminar at the Central Office for selected CSC officials and employees all over the Philippines to level off the interpretation of the new rules. Fortunately, I was one of those sent (and required) to attend together with my supervisor and provincial directors, among others.
CSC Assistant Commissioner for Legal Affairs Atty. Ariel Ronquillo served as our Resource Person – being the lead proponent and head of the Technical Working Group (TWG) who crafted the new rules.
Basically, the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service or the 2017 RACCS is intended to replace the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (or the RRACCS) which was promulgated in 2011. The planning and regional consultations for it began as early as 2015 but it did not fully materialize until August 2017.
The 2017 RACCS is composed of 23 Rules and 125 Sections as compared to the 24 Rules-124 Sections of the old RRACCS. There is a notable increase in sub-items due to the inclusion of certain administrative offenses such as Sexual Harassment and other offenses under the Anti-Red Tape Act (RA No. 9485).
There are several changes introduced in the new rules but I’ve listed below ten of those which I find most interesting –
1 – The prosecuting agency is already included in the definition of the term “party adversely affected” together with the respondent and the disciplining authority. This means that the prosecuting agency can now file a Motion for Reconsideration or Appeal (Sec. 4 [s]);
2 – The conduct of preliminary investigation is no longer limited to the submission of counter-affidavits. The investigating agency may also opt to – (a) make an ex-parte evaluation of the records, or (b) conduct clarificatory meeting/s with the parties to discuss the case (Sec.19);
3 – The disciplining authority is now expressly allowed to dismiss the case if he/she finds the respondent’s Answer satisfactory (Sec. 26);
4- The failure of any party to attend the Pre-Hearing Conference (PHC) may cause the submission of the case for decision based on available records upon motion by the present party. (Sec. 36) In the old rules, the respondent’s failure to so attend only constitutes a waiver to be present at the PHC but he/she is still given the right to participate in the rest of the proceedings upon proper motion;
5 – The designated prosecutor and the hearing officer from the investigating agency can be held liable for Neglect of Duty if he/she fails to attend the PHC without justifiable reason (Sec. 36);
6 – If despite notice, the respondent fails or refuses to appear or is not represented by counsel during a particular hearing, he/she shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence (Sec. 37);
7 – A person found guilty of Inefficiency in the Performance of Official Duties may be penalized with Demotion where he/she shall suffer diminution in salary corresponding to the next lower salary grade with the same salary step. This clarifies the misconception that the demoted employee will have to start at Step 1 of the next lower salary grade (Sec. 50 [c]);
8 – There is an entire rule (Rule 14) devoted to the payment of backwages and other benefits. In this Rule, the Commission spelled out who are entitled to this benefit and enumerated the inclusions as well as the deductions that must be made (Sec. 77);
9 – All requests for correction of personal information (COPI) shall be filed with the proper CSC Regional Office in contrast to the old rules wherein requests for COPIs made within five (5) years before mandatory retirement is made before the Commission Proper (Sec.104); and
10 – Employees behaving abnormally for an extended period of time can no longer be simply dropped from the rolls through reports of co-workers and a competent physician. Under Section 107 (d) (1), the agency is required to provide necessary human resource and phsychological interventions. It is only after continued abnormal behavior/mental disorder manifestations, despite interventions, that the agency can drop such employee from the rolls.
There are still other changes which are worth looking into. For one, Section 119 provides for the rules on presumptive notice of Commission orders and notices. I believe the Commission welcomes comments and critics so if you wish to do a review of the rules and come up with notable suggestions, feel free to communicate with them.
If you want to download a copy of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, click here.