Bangalisan v. CA
Petitioners, were among the 800 public school teachers who staged “mass actions” on September 17 to 19, 1990 to dramatize their grievances against the alleged failure of the government to implement measures intended for their material benefit. The Education Secretary (DECS) issued a Return-to-Work Order but the petitioners failed to comply. Hence they were charged by the Secretary with several administrative cases such as grave misconduct and gross neglect of duties, etc. leading to their dismissal from service.
Acting on the motions for reconsideration filed by petitioners the Secretary subsequently modified the penalty of dismissal to suspension for nine months without pay. Still unsatisfied with the modification, they filed an appeal in the CSC and Court of Appeals but both court ruled dismiss the case. Petitioners main contention is that they were not on strike but were merely exercising their constitutional right peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
Whether or not the mass action launched by the public school teachers was a strike
The Supreme Court ruled that the mass action launched by the public school teachers was a strike. The fact that the conventional term “strike” was not used by the striking employees to describe their common course of action is inconsequential, since the substance of the situation, and not its appearance, will be deemed to be controlling.
As a general rule, public employees are denied the right to strike or engage in work stoppage against a public employer. The right of the sovereign to prohibit strikes or work stoppages public employees was clearly recognized at common law. To grant employees of the public sector the right to strike there must be a clear and direct legislative authority therefor.
Further, herein petitioners, are being penalized not because they exercised their right of peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievances but because of their successive unauthorized and unilateral absences which produced adverse effects upon their students for whose education they are responsible. The actuations of petitioners definitely constituted conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, punishable under the Civil Service law, rules and regulations.
Moreover, the general proposition is that a public official is not entitled to any compensation if he has not rendered any service. As he works, he shall earn. Since petitioners did not work during the period for which they are now claiming salaries, there can be no legal or equitable basis to order the payment of such salaries. Thus, the ruling of the CA is affirmed.