Crisostomo v. CA
G.R. No. 106296
Petitioner Isabelo Crisostomo was President of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC),
having been appointed to that position by the President of the Philippines on July 17, 1974.
During his tenure as president of the PCC, two administrative cases were filed against petitioner
for illegal use of government vehicles, misappropriation of construction materials belonging to the
college, oppression and harassment, grave misconduct, nepotism and dishonesty. The
administrative cases, which were filed with the Office of the President, were subsequently referred
to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation.
Charges of violations of R.A. No. 3019 and R.A. No. 992, 20-21 and R.A. No. 733, were likewise filed against him with the Office of Tanodbayan. On June 14, 1976, three (3) informations for violation of Sec. 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. No. 3019, as amended) were filed against him. The informations alleged that he appropriated for himself a bahay kubo, which was intended for the College, and construction materials worth P250,000.00, more or less. Petitioner was also accused of using a driver of the College as his personal and family driver.
On October 22, 1976, petitioner was preventively suspended from office pursuant to R.A. No.
3019, §13, as amended. In his place Dr. Pablo T. Mateo, Jr. was designated as officer-in-charge
on November 10, 1976, and then as Acting President on May 13, 1977.
On April 1, 1978, P.D. No. 1341 was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos,
CONVERTING THE PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF COMMERCE INTO A POLYTECHNIC
UNIVERSITY, DEFINING ITS OBJECTIVES, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND
FUNCTIONS, AND EXPANDING ITS CURRICULAR OFFERINGS.
Mateo continued as the head of the new University. On April 3, 1979, he was appointed Acting
President and on March 28, 1980, as President for a term of six (6) years.
Whether or not the Philippine College of Commerce was abolished by the Polytechnic University
of the Philippines in virtue of P.D. No. 1341.
P.D. No. 1341 did not abolish, but only changed, the former Philippine College of Commerce into
what is now the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, in the same way that earlier in 1952,
R.A. No. 778 had converted what was then the Philippine School of Commerce into the Philippine
College of Commerce. What took place was a change in academic status of the educational
institution, not in its corporate life. Hence the change in its name, the expansion of its curricular
offerings, and the changes in its structure and organization.
As petitioner correctly points out, when the purpose is to abolish a department or an office or an
organization and to replace it with another one, the lawmaking authority say so.
The law does not state that the lands, buildings, and equipment owned by the PCC were being
"transferred" to the PUP but only that they "stand transferred" to it. "Stand transferred" simply
means, for example, that lands transferred to the PCC were to be understood as transferred to
the PUP as the new name of the institution.
In this case, Dr. Pablo T. Mateo Jr., who had been acting president of the university since April 3,
1979, was appointed president of PUP for a term of six (6) years on March 28, 1980, with the
result that petitioner's term was cut short. Therefore, petitioner became entitled only to retirement benefits or the payment of separation pay. Petitioner must have recognized this fact, that is why in 1992 he asked then President Aquino to consider him for appointment to the same position after it had become vacant in consequence of the retirement of Dr. Prudente.
The decision of the Court of Appeals is MODIFIED by SETTING ASIDE the questioned orders of
the Regional Trial Court directing the reinstatement of the petitioner Isabelo T. Crisostomo to the
position of president of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the payment to him of
salaries and benefits which he failed to receive during his suspension in so far as such payment
would include salaries accruing after March 28, 1980, when petitioner Crisostomo's term was
terminated. Further proceedings in accordance with this decision may be taken by the trial court
to determine the amount due and payable to petitioner by the university up to March 28, 1980.