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LAW ON PUBLIC OFFICERS - ‘Employee’ includes any person in the service of

By Ruben E. Agpalo the government or any of its agencies, divisions,

Summarized by Eva Angeline M. Trinidad subdivisions, or instrumentalities.

CHAPTER I: Nature and Elements of Public Office Under Article 203 of the Revised Penal Code:
To be a public officer, one must:4
Public offices are created: 1. Take part in the performance of public functions in
1. By the Constitution the government, or perform in said government or
2. By the law any of its branches public duties as an employee,
3. By the authority of law agent, or subordinate official, or any rank or class;
a. i.e. delegation of Congress of the power to and
create positions 2. That his authority to take part in the performance of
public functions or to perform public duties must
Public offices are filled up by: be:
1. Appointment a. By direct provision of law, or
2. Election b. By popular election, or
3. Contract c. Appointment by competent authority.
4. Other modes authorized by the law
Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act:
Public office defined. - ‘Public officer’ includes elective and appointive
officials and employees, permanent or
“Public office” is frequently used to refer to the right, temporary, whether in the classified or
authority, and duty, created and conferred by law, by unclassified or exempt service receiving
which, for a given period either fixed by law or enduring compensation, even nominal, from the
at the pleasure of the creating power, an individual is government.5
invested with some portion of the sovereign functions of - The definition is not restrictive.
government, to be exercised by that individual for the
benefit of the public. 1 Under the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials:
Public office is a public trust. - ‘Public officials’ includes elective and appointive
1. This implies a fiduciary relationship between a officials and employees, permanent or
public officer, who is a trustee, and the people who temporary, whether in the career or non-career
are the beneficiaries of a public office. service, including military and police personnel,
2. All government officials and employees must be whether or not they receive compensation,
accountable to the people, and exhibit at all times regardless of amount.6
the highest sense of honesty and integrity.
Under R.A. 7080, an act defining and penalizing the
Public office is not property. crime of plunder:
1. However, the right to office is nevertheless a right - ‘Public officer’ means any person holding any
protected by the security of tenure provision of the public office in the Government of the Republic
Constitution.2 of the Philippines by virtue of an appointment,
2. It is personal to the public officer and is not election, or contract.7
property transmissible to his heirs upon his death.3 - Ordinarily, a person becomes a public officer
only by virtue of an appointment or election.
Public officer and employee defined. o However, for R.A. 7080, a person may
become a public officer by virtue of a
Under the 1987 Administrative Code: contract executed between him and the
- ‘Officer’ refers to a person whose duties involve government.
the exercise of discretion in the performance of
the functions of the government. Under Section 44, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court:
o When used with reference to a person - In relation to “entries in official records made in
having authority to do a particular act the performance of his duty by a public officer
or perform a particular function in the of the Philippines,” officials of government
exercise of governmental power, corporations not wholly owned by the
‘officer’ includes any government government are not public officers within the
employee, agent or body having contemplation of the provision.8
authority to do the act or exercise that
function. 4 Azarcon v. Sandiganbayan, 268 SCRA 747 [1997].
5 Sec 2(a), R.A. 3019, as amended.
1 Fernandez v. Sto. Tomas, 242 SCRA 192 [1995]. 6 Sec 3(b), R.A. 6713.
2 Morfe v. Mutuc, 22 SCRA 424 [1968]. 7 Sec 1(a), R.A. 7080.
3 Santos v. Secretary of Labor, 22 SCRA 848 [1968]. 8 Borromeo v. CA, 70 SCRA 3229 [1976].
Who are the public officers. CHAPTER II: APPOINTMENT OF PUBLIC
Classifications of public officers
1. Civil or military Qualifications of appointive officers.
2. National or local
3. Elective or appointive Generally:
4. Those whose positions are created by the - A public officer must possess all the
Constitution or statutes qualifications and none of the disqualifications
5. Executive, legislative, or judiciary prescribed by the law for the position.
o Not only at the time of his election or
The bulk of the personnel in bureaucracy is composed of appointment but also during his
the civil service officers and employees. incumbency.
- They are all appointive officers or employees,
either presidential or non-presidential “Qualification for office”
appointees. - The endowment or accomplishment that fits for
- Non-presidential appointees are subject to an office; having the legal requisites, endowed
approval by the Civil Service Commission. with qualities fit or suitable for the purpose
- The possession of the qualities or circumstances
The Civil Service Law classifies employment into career which are inherently or legally necessary to
and non-career service. render him eligible to fill an office or to perform
a public duty or function
Career service is characterized by:
1. Entrance based on merit and fitness, to be The qualifications or disqualifications are mandatory.
determined as far as practicable by: - Lack of qualification or existence of a
a. Competitive examination, or disqualification makes the appointment or
b. Highly technical qualifications; election null and void.
2. Opportunity for advancement to higher career
positions; and The qualifications are continuing in nature and must
3. Security of tenure. exist at the commencement of the term and occupancy
of the office. Otherwise, he forfeits his office.
Positions under the career service include those which - Forfeiture however is not automatic. Proper
require qualifications in an appropriate examination, action must be filed against him.
positions which are highly scientific or technical in - Effect on elective officials: he is ineligible and
nature, personnel of GOCCs, and permanent laborers, his election to office is null and void.
among others.9

Non-career service is characterized by:

1. Entrance on bases other than those of the usual
test of merit and fitness utilized for the career
service; and
2. Tenure which is limited to:
a. A period specified by law, or
b. Which is coterminous with that of the
appointing authority, or subject to his
pleasures, or
c. Which is limited to the duration of a
particular project for which purposes
employment was made.

Positions under the non-career service include elective

officials and their personal or confidential staff,
department heads and other officials of Cabinet rank,
Chairmen and members of commissions and boards
with fixed terms of office as well as their personal or
confidential staff, contractual personal, and emergency
and seasonal personnel.10

9 Sec 5, P.D. 807.

10 Sec 6, Ibid.