DOF, BOC bring district collectors case to SC
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) went up to the Supreme Court (SC) in an effort to stop the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 from acting on the bid of district collectors to prevent their transfer to a newly created office.
In a 40-page petition filed on Monday, the DOF and BOC pointed out that the Manila RTC has no jurisdiction over the case since the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has the sole jurisdiction on the promotion and transfer, among others, of government employees.
Fifteen Customs district collectors questioned the Customs Personnel Order (CPO) handed down by the BOC before the trial court, arguing that the order, which effected their transfer, violated their security of tenure.
The transfer order came on the heels of President Aquino's pronouncement that the BOC was among government agencies hounded by inefficiency and corruption.
"Personnel actions affecting employees in the civil service including appointment through certification, promotion, transfer, reinstatement are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the CSC which is the sole arbiter of controversies relating to Civil Service," the petition read.
Under the CPO signed by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on Sept. 17, 27 Customs collectors will be detailed to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO).
The CPRO, under the DOF, reviews tariff and customs administration policies.
The district collectors pointed out that it was beyond the powers of the Customs commissioner to transfer them to a body outside of the BOC.
They claimed that their transfer is effectively a dismissal and demotion.
In their petition, the DOF and BOC said that the district collectors should have exhausted all administrative remedies before taking the case to court.
"Courts must allow administrative agencies to carry out their functions and discharge their responsibilities within the specialized areas of their respective competence.
"Failure to exhaust all available administrative remedies makes private respondents' action premature..." the petition read.