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EN BANC [G. R. No. 133132. January 25, 2000] ALEXIS C. CANONIZADO, EDGAR DULA TORRES, and ROGELIO A.

PUREZA, petitioners, vs. HON. ALEXANDER P. AGUIRRE, as Executive Secretary, HON. EMILIA T. BONCODIN, as Secretary of Budget and Management, JOSE PERCIVAL L. ADIONG, ROMEO L. CAIRME and VIRGINIA U. CRISTOBAL, respondents. ALEX D E C I S I O N GONZAGA_REYES, J.: The central issue posed before this Court in the present case is the constitutio nality of Republic Act No. 8551 (RA 8551), otherwise known as the "Philippine Na tional Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998,"[1] by virtue of which peti tioners herein, who were all members of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM ), were separated from office. Petitioners claim that such law violates their co nstitutionally guaranteed right to security of tenure. Sc juris The NAPOLCOM was originally created under Republic Act No. 6975 (RA 6975), entit led "An Act Establishing The Philippine National Police Under A Reorganized Depa rtment Of The Interior And Local Government, And For Other Purposes." Under RA 6 975, the members of the NAPOLCOM were petitioners Edgar Dula Torres, Alexis C. C anonizado, Rogelio A. Pureza and respondent Jose Percival L. Adiong. Dula Torres was first appointed to the NAPOLCOM on January 8, 1991 for a six year term. He was re-appointed on January 23, 1997 for another six years. Canonizado was appoi nted on January 25, 1993 to serve the unexpired term of another Commissioner whi ch ended on December 31, 1995. On August 23, 1995, Canonizado was re-appointed f or another six years. Pureza was appointed on January 2, 1997 for a similar term of six years. Respondent Adiong s appointment to the NAPOLCOM was issued on July 23, 1996. None of their terms had expired at the time the amendatory law was pas sed.[2] On March 6, 1998, RA 8551 took effect; it declared that the terms of the current Commissioners were deemed as expired upon its effectivity. Pursuant thereto, Pr esident Ramos appointed Romeo L. Cairme on March 11, 1998 as a member of the NAP OLCOM for a full six year term. On the same date, Adiong, was given a term exten sion of two years since he had served less than two years of his previous term. Cairme and Adiong both took their oaths of office on April 6, 1998.[3] Completin g the membership of the NAPOLCOM are Leo S. Magahum and Cleofe M. Factoran, who were appointed by President Estrada on June 30, 1998 and who took their oaths of office on July 2, 1998.[4] Juris According to petitioners, sections 4 and 8 of RA 8551 are unconstitutional. Sect ion 4, amending section 13 of Republic Act No. 6975, provides SEC. 13. Creation and Composition. A National Police Commission, hereinafter ref erred to as the Commission, is hereby created for the purpose of effectively dis charging the functions prescribed in the Constitution and provided in this Act. The Commission shall be an agency attached to the Department for policy and prog ram coordination. It shall be composed of a Chairperson, four (4) regular Commis sioners, and the Chief of the PNP as ex-officio member. Three (3) of the regular Commissioners shall come from the civilian sector who are neither active nor fo rmer members of the police or military, one (1) of whom shall be designated as v ice chairperson by the President. The fourth regular Commissioner shall come fro m the law enforcement sector either active or retired: Provided, That an active member of a law enforcement agency shall be considered resigned from said agency

once appointed to the Commission: Provided further, That at least one (1) of th e Commissioners shall be a woman. The Secretary of the Department shall be the e x-officio Chairperson of the Commission, while the Vice Chairperson shall act as the executive officer of the Commission. Sup rema Meanwhile, section 8 states that Upon the effectivity of this Act, the terms of office of the current Commissione rs are deemed expired which shall constitute a bar to their reappointment or an extension of their terms in the Commission except for current Commissioners who have served less than two (2) years of their terms of office who may be appointe d by the President for a maximum term of two (2) years. Petitioners argue that their removal from office by virtue of section 8 of RA 85 51 violates their security of tenure. Scs daad It is beyond dispute that petitioners herein are members of the civil service, w hich embraces all branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters.[5] As such, they cannot be removed or suspended from office, except f or cause provided by law.[6] The phrase "except for cause provided by law" refer s to " reasons which the law and sound public policy recognize as sufficient warr ant for removal, that is, legal cause, and not merely causes which the appointin g power in the exercise of discretion may deem sufficient."[7] Public respondents insist that the express declaration in section 8 of RA 8551 t hat the terms of petitioners offices are deemed expired discloses the legislative intent to impliedly abolish the NAPOLCOM created under RA 6975 pursuant to a bo na fide reorganization. In support of their theory, public respondents cite the various changes introduced by RA 8551 in the functions, composition and characte r of the NAPOLCOM as proof of Congress intention to abolish the body created unde r RA 6975 in order to replace it with a new NAPOLCOM which is more civilian in n ature, in compliance with the constitutional mandate. Petitioners posit the theor y that the abolition of petitioners offices was a result of a reorganization of t he NAPOLCOM allegedly effected by RA 8551.[8] Sdaad The creation and abolition of public offices is primarily a legislative function .[9] It is acknowledged that Congress may abolish any office it creates without impairing the officer s right to continue in the position held[10] and that such p ower may be exercised for various reasons, such as the lack of funds[11] or in t he interest of economy.[12] However, in order for the abolition to be valid, it must be made in good faith, not for political or personal reasons, or in order t o circumvent the constitutional security of tenure of civil service employees.[1 3] Sdaa miso An abolition of office connotes an intention to do away with such office wholly and permanently, as the word "abolished" denotes.[14] Where one office is abolis hed and replaced with another office vested with similar functions, the abolitio n is a legal nullity. Thus, in U.P. Board of Regents v. Rasul[15] we said: It is true that a valid and bona fide abolition of an office denies to the incum bent the right to security of tenure. [De la Lanna v. Alba, 112 SCRA 294 (1982)] However, in this case, the renaming and restructuring of the PGH and its compon ent units cannot give rise to a valid and bona fide abolition of the position of PGH Director. This is because where the abolished office and the offices create d in its place have similar functions, the abolition lacks good faith. [Jose L. Guerrero v. Hon. Antonio V. Arizabal, G.R. No. 81928, June 4, 1990, 186 SCRA 108 (1990)] We hereby apply the principle enunciated in Cesar Z. Dario vs. Hon. Sal vador M. Mison [176 SCRA 84 (1989)] that abolition which merely changes the nome nclature of positions is invalid and does not result in the removal of the incum

bent. Scnc m The above notwithstanding, and assuming that the abolition of the position of th e PGH Director and the creation of a UP-PGH Medical Center Director are valid, t he removal of the incumbent is still not justified for the reason that the dutie s and functions of the two positions are basically the same . (underscoring suppli ed) This was also our ruling in Guerrero v. Arizabal,[16] wherein we declared that t he substantial identity in the functions between the two offices was indicia of bad faith in the removal of petitioner pursuant to a reorganization. We come now to the case at bench. The question that must first be resolved is wh ether or not petitioners were removed by virtue of a valid abolition of their of fice by Congress. More specifically, whether the changes effected by RA 8551 in reference to the NAPOLCOM were so substantial as to effectively create a complet ely new office in contemplation of the law. In answer to this query, the case of Mayor v. Macaraig[17] is squarely in point. Ncmmis In that case, the petitioners assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 6715[18] insofar as it declared vacant the positions of the Commissioners, Exec utive Labor Arbiters and Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commissi on and provided for the removal of the incumbents upon the appointment and quali fication of their successors.[19] The Court held that the removal of petitioners was unconstitutional since Republic Act No. 6715 did not expressly or impliedly abolish the offices of petitioners, there being no irreconcilable inconsistency in the nature, duties and functions of the petitioners offices under the old law and the new law. Thus: Abolition of an office is obviously not the same as the declaration that that of fice is vacant. While it is undoubtedly a prerogative of the legislature to abol ish certain offices, it can not be conceded the power to simply pronounce those offices vacant and thereby effectively remove the occupants or holders thereof f rom the civil service. Such an act would constitute, on its face, an infringemen t of the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure, and will have to be str uck down on that account. It can not be justified by the professed "need to prof essionalize the higher levels of officialdom invested with adjudicatory powers a nd functions, and to upgrade their qualifications, ranks, and salaries or emolum ents. Oldmis o This is precisely what RA 8851 seeks to do - declare the offices of petitioners vacant, by declaring that "the terms of office of the current Commissioners are deemed expired," thereby removing petitioners herein from the civil service. Con gress may only be conceded this power if it is done pursuant to a bona fide abol ition of the NAPOLCOM. RA 8551 did not expressly abolish petitioners positions. In order to determine wh ether there has been an implied abolition, it becomes necessary to examine the c hanges introduced by the new law in the nature, composition and functions of the NAPOLCOM. Manikan Under RA 6975, the NAPOLCOM was described as a collegial body within the Departm ent of the Interior and Local Government,[20] (Department) whereas under RA 8551 it is made "an agency attached to the Department for policy and program coordin ation."[21] Contrary to what public respondents would have us believe, this does not result in the creation of an entirely new office. In Mayor, the NLRC, prior to the passage of the amendatory law, was also considered an integral part of t he Department of Labor and Employment. RA 6715, however, changed that by declari ng that it shall instead "..be attached to the Department of Labor and Employmen t for program coordination only ." making it a more autonomous body. The Court hel

d that this change in the NLRC s nature was not sufficient to justify a conclusion that the new law abolished the offices of the labor commissioners. Maniks Another amendment pointed out by public respondents is the revision of the NAPOL COM s composition. RA 8551 expanded the membership of the NAPOLCOM from four to fi ve Commissioners by adding the Chief of the PNP as an ex-officio member. In addi tion, the new law provided that three of the regular Commissioners shall come fr om the civilian sector who are neither active nor former members of the police o r military, and that the fourth regular Commissioner shall come from the law enf orcement sector either active or retired. Furthermore, it is required that at le ast one of the Commissioners shall be a woman.[22] Again, as we held in Mayor, s uch revisions do not constitute such essential changes in the nature of the NAPO LCOM as to result in an implied abolition of such office. It will be noted that the organizational structure of the NAPOLCOM, as provided in section 20 of RA 69 75 as amended by section 10 of RA 8551,[23] remains essentially the same and tha t, except for the addition of the PNP Chief as ex-officio member, the compositio n of the NAPOLCOM is also substantially identical under the two laws. Also, unde r both laws, the Secretary of the Department shall act as the ex-officio Chairma n of the Commission and the Vice-Chairman shall be one of the Commissioners desi gnated by the President.[24] Finally, the powers and duties of the NAPOLCOM remain basically unchanged by the amendments. Under RA 6975, the Commission has the following powers and function s: Spped jo (a) Exercise administrative control over the Philippine National Police; (b) Advise the President on all matters involving police functions and administr ation; (c) Foster and develop policies and promulgate rules and regulations, standards and procedures to improve police services based on sound professional concepts a nd principles; (d) Examine and audit, and thereafter establish the standards for such purposes on a continuing basis, the performance, activities, and facilities of all police agencies throughout the country; (e) Prepare a police manual prescribing rules and regulations for efficient orga nization, administration, and operation, including recruitment, selection, promo tion and retirement; (f) Establish a system of uniform crime reporting; Jo spped (g) Conduct surveys and compile statistical data for the proper evaluation of th e efficiency and effectiveness of all police units in the country; (h) Render to the President and to Congress an annual report on its activities a nd accomplishments during the thirty (30) days after the end of the calendar yea r, which shall include an appraisal of the conditions obtaining in the organizat ion and administration of police agencies in the municipalities, cities and prov inces throughout the country, and recommendation for appropriate remedial legisl ation; (i) Approve or modify plans and programs on education and training, logistical r equirements, communications, records, information systems, crime laboratory, cri me prevention and crime reporting; Spped (j) Affirm reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, personnel di sciplinary actions involving demotion or dismissal from the service imposed upon

members of the Philippine National Police by the Chief of the Philippine Nation al Police; (k) Exercise appellate jurisdiction through the regional appellate boards over a dministrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police be nefits; (l) Recommend to the President, through the Secretary, within sixty (60) days be fore the commencement of each calendar year, a crime prevention; (m) Prescribe minimum standards for arms, equipment, and uniforms and, after con sultation with the Philippine Heraldry Commission, for insignia of ranks, awards and medals of honor; (n) Issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum in matters pertaining to the dischar ge of its own powers and duties, and designate who among its personnel can issue such processes and administer oaths in connection therewith; and Mis spped (o) Perform such other functions necessary to carry out the provisions of this A ct and as the President may direct. Meanwhile, the NAPOLCOM s functions under section 5 of RA 8551 are: a) Exercise administrative control and operational supervision over the Philippi ne National Police which shall mean the power to: 1) Develop policies and promulgate a police manual prescribing rules and regulat ions for efficient organization, administration, and operation, including criter ia for manpower allocation, distribution and deployment, recruitment, selection , promotion, and retirement of personnel and the conduct of qualifying entrance and promotional examinations for uniformed members; Mis sc 2) Examine and audit, and thereafter establish the standards for such purposes o n a continuing basis, the performance, activities and facilities of all police a gencies throughout the country; 3) Establish a system of uniform crime reporting; 4) Conduct an annual self-report survey and compile statistical date for the acc urate assessment of the crime situation and the proper evaluation of the efficie ncy and effectiveness of all police units in the country; 5) Approve or modify plans and programs on education and training, logistical re quirements, communications, records, information systems, crime laboratory, crim e prevention and crime reporting; 6) Affirm, reverse or modify, through the National Appellate Board, personnel di sciplinary actions involving demotion or dismissal from the service imposed upon members of the Philippine National Police by the Chief of the Philippine Nation al Police; Scmis 7) Exercise appellate jurisdiction through the regional appellate boards over ad ministrative cases against policemen and over decisions on claims for police ben efits; 8) Prescribe minimum standards for arms, equipment, and uniforms and after consu ltation with the Philippine Heraldry Commission, for insignia of ranks, awards, and medals of honor. Within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act, t he standards of the uniformed personnel of the PNP must be revised which should be clearly distinct from the military and reflective of the civilian character o

f the police; 9) Issue subpoena and subpoena duces tecum in matters pertaining to the discharg e of its own powers and duties, and designate who among its personnel can issue such processes and administer oaths in connection therewith; Sc 10) Inspect and assess the compliance of the PNP on the established criteria for manpower allocation, distribution, and deployment and their impact on the commu nity and the crime situation, and therewith formulate appropriate guidelines for maximization of resources and effective utilization of the PNP personnel; 11) Monitor the performance of the local chief executives as deputies of the Com mission; and 12) Monitor and investigate police anomalies and irregularities. b) Advise the President on all matters involving police functions and administra tion; c) Render to the President and to the Congress an annual report on its activitie s and accomplishments during the thirty (30) days after the end of the calendar year, which shall include an appraisal of the conditions obtaining in the organi zation and administration of police agencies in the municipalities, cities and p rovinces throughout the country, and recommendations for appropriate remedial le gislation; d) Recommend to the President, through the Secretary, within sixty (60) days bef ore the commencement of each calendar year, a crime prevention program; andx law e) Perform such other functions necessary to carry out the provisions of this Ac t and as the President may direct." Clearly, the NAPOLCOM continues to exercise substantially the same administrativ e, supervisory, rule-making, advisory and adjudicatory functions. Sc lex Public respondents argue that the fact that the NAPOLCOM is now vested with admi nistrative control and operational supervision over the PNP, whereas under RA 69 75 it only exercised administrative control should be construed as evidence of l egislative intent to abolish such office.[25] This contention is bereft of merit . Control means "the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former for the that of the latter."[26] On the other hand, t o supervise is to oversee, to have oversight of, to superintend the execution of or the performance of a thing, or the movements or work of a person, to inspect with authority; it is the power or authority of an officer to see that subordin ate officers perform their duties.[27] Thus, the power of control necessarily en compasses the power of supervision and adding the phrase "operational supervisio n" under the powers of the NAPOLCOM would not bring about a substantial change i n its functions so as to arrive at the conclusion that a completely new office h as been created. Public respondents would have this Court believe that RA 8551 reorganized the NA POLCOM resulting in the abolition of petitioners offices. We hold that there has been absolutely no attempt by Congress to effect such a reorganization. Sclaw Reorganization takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authori ty and responsibility between them.[28] It involves a reduction of personnel, co nsolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions.[29] Naturally, it may result in the loss of one s position through r

emoval or abolition of an office. However, for a reorganization to be valid, it must also pass the test of good faith, laid down in Dario v. Mison:[30] ...As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith" if it is f or the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that event, no dismissal (in case of a dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the position itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the "abolition," which is nothing else but a separation or removal, is done for political reasons or purposely to defea t security of tenure, or otherwise not in good faith, no valid "abolition" takes place and whatever "abolition" is done, is void ab initio. There is an invalid "abolition" as where there is merely a change of nomenclature of positions, or w here claims of economy are belied by the existence of ample funds. Korte It is exceedingly apparent to this Court that RA 8551 effected a reorganization of the PNP, not of the NAPOLCOM. They are two separate and distinct bodies, with one having supervision and control over the other. In fact, it is the NAPOLCOM that is given the duty of submitting a proposed reorganization plan of the PNP t o Congress.[31] As mentioned earlier, the basic structure of the NAPOLCOM has be en preserved by the amendatory law. There has been no revision in its lines of c ontrol, authority and responsibility, neither has there been a reduction in its membership, nor a consolidation or abolition of the offices constituting the sam e. Adding the Chief of the PNP as an ex-officio member of the Commission does no t result in a reorganization. No bona fide reorganization of the NAPOLCOM having been mandated by Congress, RA 8551, insofar as it declares the terms of office of the incumbent Commissioners , petitioners herein, as expired and resulting in their removal from office, rem oves civil service employees from office without legal cause and must therefore be struck down for being constitutionally infirm. Sda adsc Petitioners are thus entitled to be reinstated to office. It is of no moment tha t there are now new appointees to the NAPOLCOM. It is a well-entrenched principl e that when a regular government employee is illegally dismissed, his position n ever became vacant under the law and he is considered as not having left his off ice. The new appointments made in order to replace petitioners are not valid.[32 ] At this juncture, we note that it is alleged by public respondents that on June 30, 1998, Canonizado accepted an appointment by President Estrada as the Inspect or General of Internal Affairs Services (IAS) of the PNP, pursuant to sections 4 0 and 41 of RA 8551 and that he took his oath of office before the President on July 7, 1998. However, this is a mere allegation on the part of public responden ts of which this Court cannot take judicial notice. Furthermore, this issue has not been fully ventilated in the pleadings of the parties. Therefore, such alleg ation cannot be taken into consideration by this Court in passing upon the issue s in the present case. Missdaa Petitioners also assail the constitutionality of section 4 of RA 8551 insofar as it limits the law enforcement sector to only one position on the Commission and categorizes the police as being part of the law enforcement sector despite sect ion 6 of Article XVI of the Constitution which provides that the police force sh all be civilian in character. Moreover, it is asserted by petitioners that the r equirement in section 4 that one of the Commissioners shall be a woman has no ra tional basis and is therefore discriminatory. They claim that it amounts to clas s legislation and amounts to an undue restriction upon the appointing power of t he President as provided under section 16 of Article VII of the Constitution.[33 ] In view of our ruling upon the unconstitutionality of petitioners removal from of

fice by virtue of section 8 of RA 8551, we find that there is no longer any need to pass upon these remaining constitutional questions. It is beyond doubt that the legislature has the power to provide for the composition of the NAPOLCOM sin ce it created such body. Besides, these questions go into the very wisdom of the law, and unquestionably lie beyond the normal prerogatives of the Court to pass upon.[34] slx mis WHEREFORE, we grant the petition, but only to the extent of declaring section 8 of RA 8551 unconstitutional for being in violation of the petitioners right to se curity of tenure. The removal from office of petitioners as a result of the appl ication of such unconstitutional provision of law and the appointment of new Com missioners in their stead is therefore null and void. Petitioners herein are ent itled to REINSTATEMENT and to the payment of full backwages to be reckoned from the date they were removed from office.[35] SO ORDERED. Slxs c Davide, Jr., C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., conc ur.