October 19, 2021

How CSC dismantled our merit system

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) is the guardian of the merit system in our country. However, he imposed a fraud similar to removing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and substituting it for a fake, without informing the public.

Our merit system is based on the structure established in the 1972 reorganization plan, which became Presidential Decree No. 1. This plan served as the basis for PD 807, the 1975 Civil Service Decree. restructured the career service into a closed career. and Open Career Service. (The rules for the operation of open and closed career services were discussed in my previous comment, “The Public Service is Back in the Commonwealth Era, 12/10/19”).

The 1972 Reorganization Plan was the creation of people with irreproachable credentials, their expertise recognized abroad. Among them were Rafael Salas, Armand Fabella, Onofre D. Corpuz and Abelardo Samonte; all have advanced degrees from universities abroad. They were assisted by staff technicians with academic training and management experience. It took six years for this group to develop our merit system. The merit structure took a long time to create as it went through the usual stress tests, mock drills and endless testing before going for implementation.

Unfortunately, it is not the merit system that is in effect today. The current merit system was devised by Rogelio Limare, Deputy Commissioner of CSC, in January 2007. The record shows that he created his version of the merit system in just nine days.

Limare had decided that notwithstanding the provision in the Foreign Service Act that the personnel of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) are “automatically and compulsorily” retired when they reach the age of 65, the CSC has the right to retire. power to extend the services of this DFA staff. However, the function of the CSC is explicitly stated in the revised Administrative Code as follows: “To promulgate policies, standards and guidelines xxx to promote economical, efficient and effective personnel administration in government”. Everyone in government knows that when a retiree is extended on duty, a whole promotion list (escalafon) of lower-ranking employees is compromised. Each extension of the service of an OFS I in the FDFA delays the promotion of at least 20 lower-ranking employees.

During deliberations in Congress, Senator Leticia R. Shahani, sponsor of Republic Law No. 7157, said the provision for mandatory retirement of DFA staff at age 65 was aimed at preventing the DFA to transform itself into a gerontocracy of outdated officials. The problem is therefore the following: Did Limare consult the Congress file when he rendered his decision? It is a serious fault for a bureaucrat to enforce the law contrary to the wishes of Congress. If Limare did not consult the records, then his action is gross negligence, given the significant effect his decision has on our merit system.

Everyone knows that if you play basketball but subject it to the rules of basketball and football, the game will end in chaos. This is now the result of CSC action. Senior DFA officials with connections received several extensions of service after reaching the age of 65, based on the CSC decision. However, those who do not have a connection are “xxx compulsorily and automatically retired” when they reach the age of 65, as provided for in RA 7157.

In any country, officials who design such an organization to operate under two rules will be sent to mental hospitals. Those who vandalize the masterpieces are thrown in jail. Our country is an exception to these rules. A country will not progress if, as in the present case, it gathers its best minds and then allows the masterpiece they have created to be replaced with a counterfeit.

Congress was made aware of these violations, but unfortunately took no corrective action. The loss of funds due to inefficiency far exceeds the loss due to corruption. The loss of funds in this case, based on the CSC decision, far exceeds the loss in the Janet Napoles case.

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Retired career ambassador Hermenegildo C. Cruz participated in the formulation and implementation of all the steps necessary for the modernization of the civil service as envisioned in the Bell report of the 1972 reorganization plan to RA 2260 and PD 807. He also drafted RA 7157, The Foreign Services Act.

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