Sep 26, 2021 @ 13:17

SC: Length of service cannot save job of BSP manager blamed for ‘Arrovo’ bills

The Supreme Court (SC) has reinstated the decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) dismissing former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) manager Nelson Bool from office for failing to detect a defect in the printing sheets that led to the production of ₱100 bills that misspelled the surname of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as “Arrovo” and publicly humiliated her.

In a 9-page decision on G.R. No. 207522, the SC 3rd Division granted the BSP’s petition questioning the January 21, 2013 decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) that downgraded the penalty to one-year suspension without pay on account of Bool’s 33 years of service.

Under the reinstated CSC decision, Bool would not only be out of a job as punishment for ross neglect of duty, he would also lose his civil service eligibility and retirement benefits and would be disqualified for reemployment in the government service. However, the SC said he was entitled to receive the monetary equivalent of any accrued leave credits.

Records showed that the BSP in August 2005 awarded a contract to the private security printing firm Francois Charles Oberthur Fiduciare for the supply and delivery of 160 million pieces of ₱100 notes and 89 million pieces of ₱1,000 notes.

On September 15, 2005, the BSP authorized Bool to travel to Rennes, France, to ensure that the quality of the printed sheets conformed to its prescribed specifications before the start of actual production. However, on November 9, 2005, it was discovered that Arroyo’s surname was misspelled.

The BSP adjudged Bool guilty of gross neglect of duty and dismissed him from service on December 10, 2009, which the CSC affirmed on November 15, 2011. The CA, however, found the penalty too harsh and took “several mitigating circumstances” into consideration.

For the SC, Bool’s length of service actually worked against him and agreed with the CSC that his 33 years of service should have made him “more meticulous and prudent in discharging his responsibility.”

It agreed with the BSP that Bool’s experience, skills and expertise were precisely the reason that he was chosen as its representative to France.

The SC also found the failure to detect the “Arrovo” error to be “so gross, grave, and serious in character as to endanger or threaten the public welfare.” It agreed with the CSC that this led not only to the waste of money but also to the “public ridicule and embarrassment” of both the BSP and Arroyo herself.

It said Bool “was not completely innocent” because he admitted to only paying attention to the color quality, registration and design preference, and claimed that checking the spelling of Arroyo’s surname was not his task. “Clearly, Bool’s conduct and outward acts negate his assertion of good faith,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando.

Even if this was his first offense, the SC said Section 52(A)(2), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules and Section 46 (A) (2), Rule 10 of the Revised Rules provides that gross neglect of duty is punishable by dismissal even if committed for the first time.

Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Henri Jean Paul Inting, Edgardo delos Santos, and Jhosep Lopez concurred in the decision.

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