CSC, not CESB has say on removal of gov’t execs

The Career Executive Service Board (CESB), whose rulings and policies have caused the removal of government executives allegedly for lack of eligibility, has no authority to do so and only the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has that authority, according to Senator Franklin Drilon, a former justice secretary.

Granting the CESB autonomy to control and supervise third-level career executive service cannot be provided by law and the legislature cannot pass a law that would diminish the powers of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), which has proper jurisdiction over career service, Drilon said.

The grant of authority to CESB, which was created by Presidential Decree No. 1 issued in September 1972 and later amended by PD No. 336 issued November 1973 and PD No. 367 on January 1974, was based on the 1973 Constitution which provides that “the CSC shall, subject to limitations as may be provided by law, establish a career service and adopt measures to promote morale, efficiency and integrity in the civil service.”

Nothing in the 1987 Constitution, however, allows limitations on the CSC’s power because the phrase “subject to such limitations as may be provided by law” was deleted, Drilon said.

While the law can create a policy-making board for career executive system, such body must always be still under the control and supervision of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the government. Otherwise, the legislature would in effect pass a law that would diminish the powers of the CSC under the 1987 Constitution.

“The limitation on the powers of the CSC found in the 1973 Constitution was not reiterated in the 1987 Charter,” Drilon said in interpellating Senate Bill No. 2671 that proposes revisions to the current career executive service, adding that Sections 2 and 3, Article IX of the 1987 Constitution never mentioned CESB and full authority relative to civil service was vested in the CSC.

The measure, authored by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, proposes a Career Executive System Board which shall be the policy-making body for the career executive system and prescribe entrance to career executive service rank or third-level of the career service.

“The CSC, by virtue of the constitutionally-granted powers and functions, should exercise full plenary authority to identify, administer and supervise all three levels of the career service,” Drilon said.

It can be noted that the Public Attorney’s Office raised a howl over a CESB resolution rendering the tenure of PAO officials temporary because they are non-career executive service officers and they are required to meet certain eligibility requirements other than being lawyers.

Drilon also warned that the measure, once passed into law, could be struck down by the Supreme Court for constitutional infirmity.

As such, Drilon said he will propose amendments to the Senate measure to align it with the 1987 Constitution, adding that the actions of CESB could not take effect without prior approval from the CSC and that the commission shall have direct supervision and control over CESB.

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