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Batungbakal v.s.

National Development Company


Aug
29
Facts:

On February 14, 1939, Batungbakal was appointed as a cash and property


examiner by the Auditor General in National Development Company. On
August 24, 1945, Batungbakal was reassigned as a property examiner in the
same company. However, on December 31, 1946, he was suspended from
the office by the Investigation Committee. And on April 17, 1947,
Batungbakal has received a notice for dismissal. It was stated in the said
notice that according to the findings of the Investigation Commitee,
Batungbakal has been found to have committed gross negligence in the
performance of his duty to the detriment of the company.
In 1948, Honorable e La Costa, the chairman of Investigation Committee
passed to the office of the President through the Department of Secretary
the results of their investigation. It was found out that Batungbakal has not
committed gross negligence in the performance of his duty, therefore, it was
requested that Batungbakal shall be given remedy through reinstatement to
his office, as well as to pay back his salaries from the dismissal up to the
reinstatement.
However, it is obviously not feasible since the former position of Batungbakal
was already occupied by the present incumbent, and to dismiss the present
is to remove him without cause.
On the basis of the facts above recited, Batungbakal apparently dissatisfied if
not disgusted with the treatment accorded him, filed this case in the Court of
First Instance of Manila against the NDC and Manuel Agregado as Auditor
General.
Issue:
Whether or not Batungbakal has the rights to reinstatement and to back
salaries.
Rulings:

Having proven that the plaintiff had been suspended and dismissed without
cause, contrary to the express provision of the Constitution, his
reinstatement becomes a plain ministerial duty of the Auditor General, a
duty whose performance may be controlled and enjoined by mandamus.
There is no room for discretion. The Auditor General is not being directed to
perform an act which he may or may not execute according to his discretion.
He is being asked and enjoined to redress a grievance, to right a wrong done.
And the payment of the back salary is merely incidental to and follows
reinstatement, this, aside from the parallel and analogy which may be found
in section 260, paragraph 1, Revised Administrative Code which provides for
the payment of back salary upon reinstatement.
According to Article 12, section 4 of the Constitution, No officer or employee
in the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause as
provided by law. Batungbakal would receive a remedy of reinstatement to
the office since his right was violated by the art of NDC. And the present
incumbent being made to leave the post to give way to the plaintiffs
superior right might be considered as a cause of dismissal.
The principle is that where there is a wrong, there is a remedy which courts
of general jurisdiction can grant. The remedy of the court was to restore him
to the office and post which he had been illegally deprived and include the
payment of the salary which he would have received during his period of
illegal suspension.