Deceased gov’t worker wins P813K claim for illegal dismissal

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    IT took 20 years but former government worker Daniel Castillo finally won his claim for P813,557.27 in back wages and other benefits after he was illegally dismissed by the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) in June 1999.

    Sadly, Castillo died in 2005 without seeing justice rendered.

    In a four-page decision dated October 30, 2019, Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Michael G. Aguinaldo and Commissioners Jose A. Fabia and Roland C. Pondoc ordered the NTA to pay Castillo’s claim in full to his legal heirs represented by his daughter and designated attorney-in-fact.

    It was former NTA Administrator Antonio de Guzman who issued a notice of non-appointment on Castillo on June 1, 1999 citing the agency’s ongoing reorganization.

    Castillo filed an appeal with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) which issued a resolution dated January 26, 2000 nullifying his termination based on the findings that his position as Cashier 1 was not abolished, hence his removal from service is not justified; he was a permanent employee enjoying security of tenure; and that the dismissal was arbitrary as he was not given an opportunity to give his side.

    The CSC directed the NTA to reappoint him to an equivalent position in the new staffing pattern with a status comparable to his former post.

    While it took the CSC only six months to void his dismissal, Castillo spent the next five years in various courts contesting the various appeals filed by the NTA – until his death in 2005.

    First, the NTA filed a motion for reconsideration with the CSC which was denied on July 21, 2000. Its second MR and a separate Petition for Relief were also turned down on October 12 and 13, 2000, respectively.

    A Supplemental Manifestation by the NTA citing a ruling in another case was likewise thrown out on April 2, 2001.

    Next, the NTA brought the issue before the Court of Appeals which upheld the CSC’s ruling on March 22, 2002, saying the order had become final and executory. The NTA appealed and lost again on June 26, 2002.

    It then went up to the Supreme Court through a Petition for Review on Certiorari claiming that the CA erroneously held that the employee’s termination was without due notice and hearing.

    While the case was still pending with the before the high court, Castillo died on December 26, 2005.

    After eight years, the SC affirmed the CA resolution and denied NTA’s petition in a ruling issued on August 4, 2010. This became final and executory on September 16, 2010 per Entry of Judgment dated November 26, 2010.

    Castillo’s daughter filed the petition with the COA on March 11, 2016 seeking implementation of the rulings of the CSC, the CA and the SC all in favor of her late father’s entitlement to due compensation.