In light of the upcoming changes in administration in the national and local government, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminds public officials to strictly observe the rule on nepotism.
CSC Chair Francisco T. Duque III said, “Nepotism is a form of corruption that weakens morale and productivity in the public sector, promotes patronage politics, and breeds public distrust on government. Any nepotic act or circumvention of the law should be brought to light so that such blatant abuse of power will be stopped.”
The rule on nepotism under the Administrative Code of 1987 prohibits appointments in the national government made in favor of relatives within the third (3rd) degree of consanguinity or affinity of either the appointing authority, recommending authority, chief of bureau or office, or persons exercising immediate supervision over the appointee. Exempted from this rule are persons employed in a confidential capacity, teachers, physicians, and members of the Armed Forces.
In the case of local governments, however, the Local Government Code of 1991 says that nepotism exists when an appointment is made within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the appointing or recommending authority.
The CSC stressed that an appointment is considered nepotic when issued to a person related to a head of office within the prohibited degree of relationship, regardless of whether or not the aforesaid head of office has exerted undue influence on the recommending or appointing authority. The CSC made this clarification in the dismissal of Ponciano S. Catipon Jr., Director III at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), for violation of the rule on nepotism.
Based on records, Catipon was appointed Director III in July 1999 and designated Provincial Director of TESDA-Aurora Provincial Office in September of the same year. In October 1999, Catipon’s first cousin was appointed Financial Analyst II in the provincial office.
In 2002, upon Catipon’s recommendation, a vacant Technical Education and Skills Development (TESD) Specialist Position in the provincial office was opened to interested applicants. His brother, Virgilio, who was working in the same provincial office as cash clerk, applied for the position and underwent screening. In April 2002, the Regional Director of TESDA Regional Office No. 4 granted the promotional appointment of Virgilio to the said position.
Seven months later, a complaint was filed before the CSC-Regional Office (CSCRO) No. 4 for nepotism against Catipon, his brother and his first cousin. After due process, the CSCRO found Catipon guilty of nepotism for the appointment of his brother. The CSC did not hold him liable in the appointment of his first cousin as it falls outside the proscribed degree of relations.
In its ruling, the CSCRO stated that even though he was not the appointing or recommending authority in the appointment of his brother, Catipon was holding a position equivalent to Chief of Bureau or Office when applications to the Senior TESD Specialist Position were assessed. It further disclosed that Asuncion L. Mata, the purported immediate supervisor of Virgilio, is a subordinate of Catipon and served as head of the Personnel Selection Board that evaluated the applications.
Catipon filed an appeal with the CSC Central Office, asserting that he had no influence over the appointment of his brother and that the latter went through the application process wherein he was evaluated best among all applicants. He also alleged that his position as Provincial Director is not analogous to “chief of bureau or office”.
In CSC Resolution No. 091264 dated September 1, 2009, the Commission en banc dismissed the appeal and affirmed the finding of his guilt for nepotism. It established that Catipon’s position is indeed equivalent to “chief of bureau or office” in that he was at the top of the organizational hierarchy of the TESDA-Aurora Provincial Office and holds the power as its head or overseer.
The Commission also cited a High Court decision in CSC vs. Dacoycoy (G.R. No. 135805, April 29, 1999) stating that the mere issuance of an appointment to a relative within the prohibited degree of relationship of a chief of the bureau or office is enough basis to hold the latter liable for nepotism.
Thus, Catipon was meted the penalty of dismissal from the service with all the accessory penalties of forfeiture of retirement benefits, cancellation of eligibility, disqualification to hold public office, and bar from taking civil service examination. Catipon sought reconsideration of the ruling of the Commission but his effort proved futile when his motion was denied in CSC Resolution No. 100677 dated April 6, 2010.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA RELATIONS DIVISION
Public Assistance and Information Office
Civil Service Commission
IBP Road, Batasan Hills, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. No: 931-4180