Case Brief: Gonzales v. Hernandez

G.R. No. L-15482. May 30, 1961.

GUILLERMO GONZALES, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

THE HON. JAIME HERNANDEZ, as Secretary of Finance and JOVENCIO FOJAS, Respondents-Appellants.

 

Facts:

Petitioner Gonzales was appointed attorney-agent of Investigation and Secret Service Division, Department of Finance. But in an administrative case instituted against him, he was found guilty of disreputable conduct prior to entering the service, and called upon to resign or be separated for cause as per decision of the Commissioner of Civil Service. In view of this, Gonzales filed a letter of resignation, which was then accepted by the Undersecretary of Finance. Subsequently, his wife was appointed for the position, and then it was transferred over to respondent Fojas; on the otherhand, Gonzales worked for GSIS.

Eventually, the Civil Service Board of Appeals modified the decision of Commissioner of Civil Service, and imposed upon Gonzales a suspension of two months without pay. When he went to Department of Finance to report for duty, the Department of Finance could not reinstate him, alleging that there was an abandonment of work.

Lower court: Undersecretary of Finance had no right to treat petitioner’s conditional resignation as an absolute one, and that the Undersecretary’s unconditional acceptance of petitioner’s conditional resignation is equivalent to a rejection of said resignation and petitioner’s position did not become vacant thereby; that petitioner’s acceptance of an emergency position in the Government Service Insurance System is not an abandonment of the position in question, as it is not incompatible with his claim for reinstatement; that the appointment of respondent Fojas to the position of the petitioner is only temporary in nature.

 

Issue:

Was there a valid resignation? Did he abandon his position by accepting another position in GSIS?

 

Held:

  1. PUBLIC OFFICERS; RESIGNATION; WHEN NOT DEEMED COMPLETE AND OPERATIVE. — Where an an employee’s resignation from his position in the government service was made expressly “subject to the result of my appeal to the Civil Service Board of Appeals, there is no resignation to speak of, because to constitute a complete and operative act of resignation, the officer or employee must show a clear intention to relinquish or surrender his position.
  2. ID.; ID.; ACCEPTANCE OF EMERGENCY POSITION AFTER CONDITIONAL RESIGNATION; WHY NOT AN ABANDONMENT OF OLD POSITION. — The acceptance, by an employee who resigned conditionally from his position pending the termination of his case in the Civil Service Board of Appeals, of another position as emergency laborer in a government corporation, does not constitute an abandonment of his old position, because his temporary employment is not incompatible with his old position, and he could resign from the same any time, as soon as his case had been definitely decided in his favor.
  3. ID.; ID.; WHY OBJECTION TO REINSTATEMENT AFTER WIFE’S APPOINTMENT TO SAME OFFICE NOT TENABLE. — Where an employee’s wife was appointed in the same office where the husband was employed before his conditional resignation therefrom, no objection can be made on this account to husband’s reinstatement, since he was already employed before his wife was appointed. If any objection is to be made at all, it should be against the wife’s appointment, not his own.
  4. ID.; ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF BACK SALARIES NOT PROPER IF EMPLOYEE WAS NOT COMPLETELY EXONERATED. — Back salaries may be ordered paid to an officer or employee only if he is exonerated of the charge against him and his suspension or dismissal is found and declared to be illegal. They should not be ordered paid where the employee was not completely exonerated, as where, although the decision of the Commissioner of Civil Service was modified and the employee was allowed to be reinstated, the decision ordered him to forfeit two months pay and not to be given back salaries.
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