SC upholds ouster of MMDA exec

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INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has upheld Malacañang’s ouster of a senior executive of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) who was an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Voting 15 to 0, the high court said Emmanuel Castro failed to prove that he has “a clear right to the office allegedly held unlawfully by another,” referring to his replacement, Emerson Carlos, as MMDA assistant general manager for operations (Agmo).

In a decision dated April 16 and written by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the tribunal said De Castro did not possess the qualifications of a third-level career executive service officer (Ceso), required of an Agmo.

De Castro was appointed to the MMDA in July 29, 2009, by Arroyo and took his oath the following month.

Ochoa circular

On July 29, 2010, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa issued Memorandum Circular No. 2 directing all non-Ceso appointees to continue in office until their resignations have been accepted or their replacements have been appointed.

The next day, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino reassigned De Castro, a non-Ceso, to the legal and legislative affairs office of the office of the general manager.

On Nov. 2, 2010, Tolentino designated Carlos as OIC of the Agmo office. De Castro’s name was taken off the MMDA payroll and was no longer paid his salary starting November 2010.

De Castro sought a clarification from the Career Executive Service Board (CESB), which said that the position of Agmo had not yet been classified and could not be considered as belonging to the career executive service.

He demanded the payment of his salaries and reinstatement. When his pleas went unheeded by the MMDA, he brought his case to the Office of the President.

On Jan. 4, 2011, however, President Aquino made Carlos’ appointment as Agmo permanent.

Quo warranto case

De Castro filed a quo warranto case against Carlos at the Supreme Court claiming that he had security of tenure and that the position of Agmo was not covered by Memorandum Circular No. 2 as the CESB had determined that it was not a career executive position.

Quo warranto is a legal procedure used to challenge an individual’s right or authority to the position he holds.

Carlos disagreed with De Castro’s position, arguing that De Castro had to be a Ceso in order to acquire security of tenure as Agmo.

In its decision, the high court said that the CESB had as early as 1994, declared as within the career executive service “all other managerial or executive positions in the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations with original charters.”

The requirements were: the position is a career position, the position is above division chief level, and the duties and responsibilities of the position require performance of executive and managerial functions.

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