Palma-Fernandez v. De La Paz
The petitioner, a career physician, occupied the position of Medical Specialist II in East Avenue Medical Center. Consequently, the petitioner was eventually appointed to Chief of Clinics. Following the new organizational structure of the Center, however, the Center retitled the position of Chief of Clinics to “Assistant Director for Professional Services”. Thus, the respondent Dr. De La Paz, in his capacity as Medical Center Chief, issued Hospital Order No. 30 designating the petitioner as Assistant Director of Professional Services. Subsequently, E.O. 119 was promulgated entitled, “Reorganization Act of the Ministry of Health”. However, the respondent eventually designated respondent Dr. Aguila as Assistant Director for Professional Services, hereby relieving the petitioner of her duties as Chief of Clinic and transferred to the Research Office.
The petitioner filed the instant petition for quo warranto with Preliminary Injunction against the respondents. The Solicitor General, in favor of the petitioner, resolved that De la Paz does not have the power or authority to issue the two Hospital Orders seeing as the power to appoint and remove subordinate officers and employees is vested in the Secretary of Health and not the Medical Center Chief (Sec. 79 (D) of the Revised Administrative Code), thus the removal was without valid cause. Nevertheless, the respondents assert that the petitioner was not appointed but was merely transferred in the interest of public service.
Was the removal or ”transfer” of the petitioner with valid cause?
No. The Court held that the removal of the petitioner was without valid cause. The Court refuses to accept the respondent’s contention such that a transfer requires an appointment. However, as pointed out by the Solicitor General, the respondent as Medical Center Chief does not have the authority to appoint. Furthermore, presuming that the act of the respondent was indeed a transfer, such transfer should be done with the petitoner’s consent. In this case, there was no such consent. Thus, these things considered, there is no valid cause. Thus, the transfer of the petitioner to the Research office violates Articly IX, B, Section 2(3) of the 1987 Constituion, which provides, “no officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law.”