BONTOC, Mountain Province– Twelve college professors of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) were ordered dismissed from the service by the Cordillera office of the Civil Service Commission (CSC-CAR) after having been found guilty of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and insubordination for leading a failed siege against the former president of the State-run higher education institution that resulted to the disruption and stoppage of public service on July 1, 2011.
In a 46-page decision promulgated last December 8, 2014, lawyer Marilyn E. Taldo, CSC-CAR regional director, named the dismissed MPSPC college professors as Dan Evert C. Sokoken, Sr., Dario F. Guinayen, Daniela P. Chumacog, Terrence Lief Fang-asan, Peter Puma-at, Eric F. Fulangen, Brueckner B. Aswigue, Jayson A. Omaweng, Charlie Wraykan S. Engngeg, Nellie B. Diaz, Beverly Ann B. Chaokas and Angelita D. Bayle, all faculty members of the MPSPC in this capital town.
Aside from being dismissed from the service, the twelve embattled professors were also meted the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and barred from taking civil service examinations.
On December 1, 2011, Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon, former MPSPC president, filed a complaint against the dismissed professors allegedly on account of their either individual and/or collective acts as participants in a strike at MPSPC on July 1, 2011 which was joined by the community, students and MPSPC faculty members.
The complaint was filed by Dr. Dacyon through the assistance of well-known human rights lawyer Pablito Sanidad, Sr..
Taldo argued that it is a settled rule in the jurisdiction that employees in the public service may not engage in strikes, mass leaves, lockouts, and other forms of mass action that will lead in the temporary stoppage or disruption of public service.
“The right of government employees to organize is limited to the formation of unions and associations only, without including the right to strike,” she stressed.
She underscored the CSC-CAR is not unmindful that the dismissed college professors have some grievances against Dr. Dacyon and her management, however, the same should be ventilated in a lawful manner, either through a peaceful dialogue or negotiation or through the CSC approved agency grievance machinery.
“Respondents are likewise liable for the offenses of insubordination and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. Notwithstanding the lawful issuance of a memorandum to hold regular classes on June 28, 2011, respondents deliberately refused to comply therewith and pursued with the conduct of the mass action,” the decision stated.
Moreover, the CSC-CAR decision stated the unwarranted acts of the respondents (i.e. engaging in strikes or mass actions) resulted in an undue prejudice to the best interest of the service where the government was denied of a committed service.
As to the charge of oppression, the decision cited the elements of the offense are wanting in the case. In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof required to establish malfeasance is substantial evidence, which is defined as that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
“The prosecution was able to present substantial evidence that would warrant the imposition of administrative sanctions against the respondents for the offenses of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and insubordination,” Taldo said.
She explained grave misconduct is a grave offense punishable by dismissal from the service and that conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service is punishable by suspension of six months and one day to one year for the first offense and dismissal from the service for the second offense while insubordination is punishable by suspension of one month and one day to suspension to six months for the first offense, and dismissal from the service for the second offense.
“Dismissal, being the impossible penalty for grave misconduct, which is the most serious offense cannot be aggravated or mitigated by any attendant circumstance as it is an indivisible penalty,” the decision stated.
In their joint counter-affidavit, the respondents averred the complaint against them and prayed for its dismissal since they did not do anything prejudicial to the interest of the public at large as reason.
They claimed in-depth study of the well-crafted complaint will rear its ugly head and that it is just an arm twisting tool or mechanism against them on an erroneous perception that they joined the community and student initiated demonstration against Dr. Dacyon way of administration and the incidental and brief presence of the respondents in the meeting was to pacify the angry mob that should have gone tremendously out of proportion.
It can be recalled that on July 1, 2011, while Dr. Dacyon was inside her office at the Bontoc campus, respondents Sokoken, Fang-asan, Puma-at, Guinayen, Chumacog, Chaokas, Fulangen, Diaz, Bayle, Engngeg, Omaweng and Aswigue and others, led students and faculty members and assembled at the national road between the academic and administration buildings and continue to hold a rally or protest demanding Dacyon’s resignation and that of Dr. Nena D. Perez.
The said assembly subsequently led to the unauthorized and illegal suspension of all classes and immediately before the rally begun, Dacyon noticed smoke coming from the front gates and also from behind the administration building.
Dacyon later learned that rice husks were burned by the rallyists. Thereafter, she heard the sound of gongs from the road, then there were speakers who took turns delivering speeches and they and the crowd were shouting among which were the words “ Dacyon resign.”