Thousands Postal employees being fired based on 'dead law'

The age-old yet grandeur-looking building that has served as the headquarters of postal employees for over a century

Thousands Postal employees 
being fired based on 'dead law'

Workers' unions try to fight off

By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING
Editor-in-chief, Dyaryo Magdalo


          The new management of the Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) has shocked thousands of its rank-and-file employees all over the country.

          The officials who were all appointed by President P-Noy, led by former Bulacan governor Josie dela Cruz have already warned these employees that it will implement what they call as "rationalization" based on a law that already expired.

         To top it all, the expired law was enacted for the year 2003 during the time of the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It is what is called as the Appropriations Act of 2003, also known as Republic Act No. 9206.

         There was no appropriations act that was passed by the Congress for 2004, resulting in the Constitution-sanctioned automatic re-enactment of the same budget law as the budget act for 2004.
         Arroyo issued on October 4, 2004 Executive Order No. 366 directing "a strategic review of the operations and organizations of the Executive Branch and providing options and incentives for government employees who may be affected by the rationalization."

         This order was based on Sections 77 and 78 of RA 9206, the law that authorized the President to direct changes in the offices under the Executive Department, including the abolition of positions or units within the offices that will result to loss of jobs if implemented.

         Based on EO 366, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued on May 11, 2005 the corresponding order on how to implement the same.

        However, the two biggest unions of employees of the Philpost, through their lawyer Cirilo P. Sabarre Jr., wrote Postmaster General Dela Cruz, the Board and its Legal Chief to register their opposition to the implementation of the said "rationalization."
        The lawyer, a partner of this writer, argued that the law upon which the said "rationalization" was to be implemented is a dead law.

        They argued that an appropriation or a budge law expires upon the expiration of the year or fiscal year that it is intended to govern.  If it is an appropriations law for 2003, the title of the said law itself provides that it is a law for the period of January 1, 2003 up to December 31, 2003.  

       So that if the authority of the President to direct changes based on the reenacted law in 2004, the authority of the President automatically ceased after the expiration of December 31, 2004 and it becomes ineffective on January 1, 2005. 

        The only exception to this rule of expiration is when the budget law itself says expressly that a particular provision is to be effective beyond the period for which the law was enacted.

         In the case of RA 9206, it does not say if Sections 77 and 78 shall be effective till eternity or until revoked by a later law. 

        To get an idea, the letter is reproduced below: 

                                                                                                                                    January 12, 2012




REQUEST FOR THE PHILPOST TO WITHDRAW IMPLEMENTATION OF “RATIONALIZATION” FOR BEING A “DEAD PROPOSITION” BASED ON A “DEAD LAW.”





HON. JOSIE DELA CRUZ,
Postmaster General
Philippine Postal Corp.

THE BOARD
Philippine Postal Corp.

THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT
Philippine Postal Corp.


Dear Madam Josie, The Board & the Chief of Legal Dept.,


          On behalf of the law firm’s clients—Philphost Rank-and-File Employees Association (PRAFEA) and PhilPost Workers Union (PWU)—we write to register the opposition to the implementation of the RATIONALIZATION that has resulted in the termination of regular and other kinds of employees of the Philippine Postal Corporation, particularly the rank-and-file.

     As such the termination is ILLEGAL and this will result in BILLIONS OF PESOS OF OBLIGATIONS PAYABLE DUE TO DAMAGES AND BACKWAGES DUE TO ILLEGAL DISMISSAL.  It is therefore very clear that if the Philpost Board will implement the rationalization, it stands to lose this much.

            It is not too late to withdraw the rationalization implementation.

            The basis of the opposition is this:  There is NO LAW that supports the RATIONALIZATION.

            Why?

        First the bases of the implementation of the “Rationalization” are: (a) Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 366 issued on 11th day of May 2005; and (b) Executive Order 366 promulgated by the Office of the President on 4th Day of October 2004 by the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

            Now, these issuances are stating that its bases are rooted to Sections 77 and 78 of Republic Act 9206, the General Appropriations Act of 2003, which was automatically reenacted in 2004 by reason of the failure of the Congress to enact a new General Appropriations Act.

            THE LAW FROM WHICH EO 366 and THE IRR DREW LIFE IS ALREADY EXPIRED!

            In the case of RA 9206, it is very specific that it was made by the Congress to apply only from January 1, 2003 up to December 31, 2003.  This is very clear by the title itself of the Act, which reads:

“REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9206 AN ACT APPROPRIATING FUNDS FOR THE OPERATION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES FROM JANUARY ONE TO DECEMBER THIRTY-ONE, TWO THOUSAND THREE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.”

            Now, the failure of the Congress to pass the appropriations act for 2004 resuscitated automatically Republic Act 9206. So that it may still be reasonably stated that its mandates were still effective in the year 2004.

            But in the year 2005, the Congress enacted the appropriations act for that year.  As such, RA 9206 became a DEAD ANIMAL after December 31, 2004.  And if it is dead, the issuance of EO 366 by Macapagal-Arroyo that drew life form RA 9206 became dead at the end of December 31, 2004.  That EO 366 therefore is ALSO DEAD. 

Now, since EO 366 is dead, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of EO 366 is ALSO DEAD.

            If we examine the subsequent appropriations act from the year 2005 up to the year 2012, there is no provision there that expressly states that any executive order issued out of RA 9206 was reenacted.

         Hence, IT IS AS CLEAR AS THE DAY THAT THERE IS NO LAW THAT SUPPORTS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE “RATIONALIZATION” SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN INTENDED TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN 2004.

            Since it was not implemented in 2004, that EO 366 was also dead!

NOW, Appropriations Acts are laws whose effectiveness is only for the period for which they are enacted.

The only exception under the jurisprudence here and abroad is WHEN THE APPROPRIATIONS ACT for a particular year EXPRESSLY SPECIFIES THAT A PROVISION THEREIN WAS INTENDED TO BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL REVOKED.

In the instant RA 9206, THERE IS NOTHING THAT SAYS THAT SECTIONS 77 and 78 SHALL BE EFFECTIVE TILL ETERNITY OR TILL REVOKED BY A NEW LAW.

Additionally, the implementation thereof is CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT AND LETTER OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION.

Hence, it is respectfully requested that the “Rationalization” be withdrawn and all those employees who were notified to have been terminated as a result thereof should be informed to return to work and their salaries for the days they failed to report as a result should be given in full.

We hope you heed THE CALL OF CONSCIENCE in this era where the President is campaigning aggressively for “MATUWID NA DAAN.”

Rationalization is therefore A BIG INSULT TO P-NOY.


                                                                                                Respectfully yours,




                                                                                                CIRILO P. SABARRE, JR.
                                                                                                Counsel of PRAFEA and PWU

Cc:

President Benigno “Simeon” Aquino III
Office of the President, Malacañang, Manila

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa
Office of the Executive Secretary

Secretary Butch Abad
Department of Budget and Management
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