SC keeps gov’t branches apart on clearance issue
Stressing the independence of the judicial branch of government, the Supreme Court said retiring judiciary employees did not have to get clearances from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) prior to the release of their retirement pay, pensions and other benefits.
Voting 13-0, the Court en banc said that the implementing rules and regulations on the release of retirement benefits of government employees, particularly the provision requiring a certification from the CSC saying an employee did not have a pending administrative case, did not apply to judiciary employees.
“[T]he court rules that the subject provision (Section 7, Rule III) should not be made to apply to employees of the judiciary. To deem otherwise would disregard the court’s constitutionally enshrined power of administrative supervision over its personnel. Besides, retiring court personnel are already required to secure a prior clearance of the pendency or nonpendency of administrative cases from the court, which makes the CSC clearance a superfluous and nonexpeditious requirement contrary to the declared state policy of RA 10154,” the high tribunal said in a resolution dated Oct. 1.
RA 10154, passed by Congress in July 2011, requires government agencies to ensure the early release of the retirement pay, pensions, gratuities and other benefits of retiring government employees. The process was spelled out in the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
On Sept. 18, lawyer Eden Candelaria, deputy clerk of court and head of the office of the administrative services of the Supreme Court, wrote the tribunal to seek guidance regarding Section 7, Rule III of the IRR which states, “The retiring employee shall seek Clearance of Pendency/Nonpendency of Administrative Case from his/her employer agency, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, or in case of presidential appointees, from the Office of the President.”
The court, in its ruling written by Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, said the Constitution exclusively vests in the court administrative supervision over all court personnel.
“As such, it oversees the court personnel’s compliance with all laws and takes the proper administrative action against them for any violation thereof. As an adjunct thereto, it keeps in its custody records pertaining to the administrative cases of retiring court personnel,” the justices said.
“Verily, the administrative supervision of court personnel and all affairs related thereto fall within the exclusive province of the judiciary,” they ruled.
The Supreme Court, however, said that with regard to the clearance that says one has no pending criminal case, the retiring judiciary employee must still secure it from the Office of the Ombudsman, since the issuance of such a document is beyond the judiciary’s power of administrative supervision.