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The Court should ever remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office.

To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When a people have elected a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his fault or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such fault or misconduct, to practically overrule the will of the people. (Lizares v. Hechanova, et al., 17 SCRA 58, 59-60 [1966]) (See also Oliveros v. Villaluz, 57 SCRA 163 [1974]) 3

Clear then, the rule is that a public official can not be removed for administrative misconduct committed during a prior term, since his re-election to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor. The foregoing rule, however, finds no application to criminalcases pending against petitioner for acts he may have committed during the failed coup. whether or not the Provincial Board of Zamboanga del Norte may proceed with the administrative investigation of reelected Mayor Roberto P. Poculan for misconduct, allegedly committed by the latter during his prior term of office. Considering that the alleged illegal killing of Antonio Arapoc by respondent Poculan is not essentially connected with the performance of the official duties of the latter, it is clear, therefore, that the Provincial Board of Zamboanga cannot administratively proceed against him until after a judgment of conviction shall have been rendered by a court of justice and said judgment has become final and executory. Petitioner herein does not claim and the records do not show that there is such a final judgment against respondent Poculan.

It is true that the administrative charge against him alleges "grave abuse of authority" and "intent to oppress;" but, these averments refer to the conditions under which the crime imputed to Poculan has allegedly been committed. They are part and parcel of the commission of said offense, and, as such, should be passed upon in the corresponding criminal case. In fact, they may, if established, affect the imposable penalty. As a consequence, the administrative proceeding based upon said "abuse" and "intent" must, like the proceeding for the offense itself, be deferred until after the rendition of final judgment in the criminal case. (G.R. No. L-23523 November 18, 1967

THE PROVINCIAL BOARD OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, petitioner, vs. DOROTEO DE GUZMAN, CFI Judge, Zamboanga del Norte, and ROBERTO P. POCULAN, Mayor of Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, respondents.)

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More than 60 years ago, the Court in Pascual v. Hon. Provincial Board of Nueva Ecija17 issued the landmark ruling that prohibits the disciplining of an elective official for a wrongful act committed during his immediately preceding term of office. The Court explained that "[t]he underlying theory is that each term is separate from other terms, and that the reelection to office operates as a condonation of the officer's previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefor." 18

The Court should never remove a public officer for acts done prior to his present term of office. To do otherwise would be to deprive the people of their right to elect their officers. When the people elect[e]d a man to office, it must be assumed that they did this with knowledge of his life and character, and that they disregarded or forgave his faults or misconduct, if he had been guilty of any. It is not for the court, by reason of such faults ormisconduct[,] to practically overrule the will of the people.19 (underscoring supplied) Respondents in the mentioned cases are elective officials, unlike respondent here who is an appointed official. Indeed, election expresses the sovereign will of the people. Under the principle of vox populi est suprema lex, the re-election of a public official may, indeed, supersede a pending administrative case.

An election is the embodiment of the popular will, perhaps the purest expression of the sovereign power of the people. It involves the choice or selection of candidates to public office by popular vote. Considering that electedofficials are put in office by their constituents for a definite term, x x x complete deference is accorded to the will of the electorate that they be served by such officials until the end of the term for which they were elected. 326 Phil. 847 (1996). Citing sound public policy, the Court added that to rule otherwise would open the floodgates to exacerbating endless partisan contests between the reelected official and his political enemies, who may not stop to hound the former during his new term with administrative cases for acts allegedly committed during his prior term, such that his second term may thus be devoted to defending himself in those cases to the detriment of public service. G.R. No. 180917 April 23, 2010

ATTY. VICENTE E. SALUMBIDES, JR., and GLENDA ARAA, Petitioners, vs. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, RICARDO AGON, RAMON VILLASANTA, ELMER DIZON, SALVADOR ADUL, and AGNES FABIAN, Respondents, Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Misconduct is a transgression of some established or definite rule of action; more particularly, it is an unlawful behavior by the public officer. 19 Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or standard of behavior, especially by a government official. To constitute an administrative offense,misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public officer. 20 Office of the Court Administrator v. Bucoy, A.M. No. P-93-953, 25 August 1994, 235 SCRA 588, 595.
20

Civil Service Commission v. Belagan, 483 Phil. 601, 623 (2004).

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Misconduct is "a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer." 23

In Grave Misconduct, as distinguished from Simple Misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant disregard of established rules, must be manifest24 and established by substantial evidence. Grave Misconduct necessarily includes the lesser offense of Simple Misconduct.25 Thus, a person charged with Grave Misconduct may be held liable for Simple Misconduct if the misconduct does not involve any of the elements to qualify the misconduct as grave.26 The CA correctly found no reason to depart from the findings of the petitioner that respondent and his companions are guilty of Simple Misconduct. The elements particular to Grave Misconduct were not adequately proven in the present case. Corruption, as an element of Grave Misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others.27 There is no clear and convincing evidence in the present case to show that the purchase and acquisition of the 19 cellular phone units had been made for personal or selfish ends. Nor is there evidence that respondent and his companions acted in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary manner with conscious and deliberate intent to do an injustice to others. Estarija v. Ranada, G.R. No. 159314, June 26, 2006, 492 SCRA 652, 663; Bureau of Internal Revenue v. Organo, G.R. No. 149549, February 26, 2004, 424 SCRA 9, 16.
23

Villanueva v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 167726, July 20, 2006, 495 SCRA 824, 834835; Civil Service Commission v. Lucas, 361 Phil. 486, 490-491 (1999).
24

Santos v. Rosalan, G.R. No. 155749, February 8, 2007, 515 SCRA 97, 104; Civil Service Commission v. Ledesma, G.R. No. 154521, September 30, 2005, 471 SCRA 589, 603.
25

Santos v. Rosalan, supra note 25; Civil Service Commission v. Ledesma, supra note 25.
26

Salazar v. Barriga, A.M. No. P-05-2016, April 19, 2007, 521 SCRA 449, 453454; Vertudes v. Buenaflor, G.R. No. 153166, December 16, 2005, 478 SCRA 210, 234; Civil Service Commission v. Belagan, G.R. No. 132164, October 19, 2004, 440 SCRA 578, 599-600.
27

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The Court though determines that Sheriff Pascuas improper actions more appropriately constitute simplemisconduct. Misconduct is a transgression of an established rule of action. More particularly, misconduct is the unlawful behavior of a public officer. It means the "intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or standard of behavior, especially by a government official."26 In order for misconduct to constitute anadministrative offense, it should be related to or connected with the performance of the official functions and duties of a public officer. 27 Under Section 22, Rule XIV of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as The Administrative Code of 1987) and Section 52(B)(2), Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules onAdministrative Cases in the Civil Service, simple misconduct is a less grave offense with a penalty ranging from suspension for one (1) month and one (1) day to six (6) months for the first offense, and dismissal for the second offense. Tenorio v. Perlas, A.M. No. P-10-2817, January 26, 2011

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