Napagdiskitahan lang: CA affirms CSC ruling against reassignment of San Jose del Monte city engineer

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has ruled that former San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro’s reassignment of the city engineer to become acting city agriculturist was invalid.

In a recent 14-page decision, the CA 3rd Division affirmed the Civil Service Commission’s October 30, 2015 ruling that struck down San Pedro’s office orders regarding the reassignment of Rufino Gravador.

San Pedro had designated Gravador as the acting city agriculturist from August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014, despite the latter’s lack of knowledge in that field.

Gravador had earned the mayor’s ire for scrutinizing the documents of the new city hall project for compliance with proper building structures. San Pedro told Gravador that he had “too many grievances.”

Out of anxiety and humiliation, Gravador used up his leaves to avoid coming to the office. This led San Pedro to extend his reassignment for another year up to July 31, 2015, since Gravador “failed to serve the previous order and never performed the functions and duties of acting City Agriculturist.”

The court rejected San Pedro’s argument that Gravador’s reassignment did not result in the reduction in rank, status or salary.

It said San Pedro’s justification that he reassigned Gravador in the interest of public service had no basis, because the latter would be called to perform functions he was unfamiliar with.

“There is an apparent disparity or inconsistency in the duties and responsibilities of a City Agriculturist and a City Engineer,” noted the decision penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting.

“The interest of public service will instead greatly suffer and compromised [sic],” it added.

The court also adopted the CSC’s observation that San Pedro did not refute Gravador’s allegation that the reassignment arose out of retaliation for the latter’s refusal to hastily sign the documents for the city hall project.

Gravador continues to serves as city engineer under the administration of Mayor Arthur Robes, who narrowly defeated San Pedro during the 2016 elections.

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