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Nagmagaling kasi! SC: DENR should’ve asked for Sol Gen’s help in dismissal case

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Solicitor General Jose Calida’s services should have been sought by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before it filed a petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) seeking the dismissal of DENR Region 12 Surveys Division acting chief Usman Magarang.

The Supreme Court (SC) pointed this out as in its resolution which affirmed the ruling of the CA that junked the petition for review filed by DENR Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr.

“Due to the failure to comply with the mandatory policy that the OSG represent the government before the appelate court, the CA properly dismissed the DENR petition for review,” read the SC resolution.

The high court cited the Administrative Code provides that “the OSG is the principal law officer and legal defender of the Government.”

It added that the Administrative Code also indicated that “the OSG shall represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of a lawyer.”

“Glaringly, Usec. Adobo was not even deputized by the OSG to file the petition before the CA. Further, the DENR Secretary could not prove that the OSG refused to represent their agency or that it took a different legal position,” the SC said.

The DENR petition before the CA sought to overturn the Civil Service Commission (CSC) ruling which refused to dismiss from service Magarang for grave misconduct for irregularities in the issuance of Group Settlement Surveys (GSS) over forest land that led to illegal issuance of free patents to private individuals.

The SC also backed the CSC position to dismiss the DENR’s appeal for not following the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in Civil Service (RRACCS) which required the DENR Secretary to file a formal charge and not Assistant Secretary Daniel Nicer.

“Nonetheless, as consistently held by the CA and the CSC, even if the petition of the DENR Secretary is procedurally inform and must be denied, this is without prejudice on the re-filing of the administrative case against respondent in accordance with the CSC rules and the Administrative Code,” the SC assured, on the other hand.

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