ANGELES CITY -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) main office recently reversed the decision of its regional office in Central Luzon and affirmed the appointment of Dr. Joven Esquerra as City Health Officer (CHO) in 1999.

The CSC, in a decision dated June 8 stated: "It could be further said that the discretionary power of then mayor Carmelo Lazatin to appoint as City Health Officer, which has been confirmed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) is within the ambit of existing laws, rules and jurisprudence."

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"That being the case, the commission rules that Dr. Ma. Cheryl Paras-Tuazon's designation as City Health Officer effective July 2, 2007 has no basis in fact and in law or jurisprudence. Thus, Esguerra should be reinstated to his position as City Health Officer of Angeles City," added the decision.

With this, the appeal of Esquerra has been granted.

"Accordingly, the assailed Order of the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. III dated November 19, 2008 affirming earlier decision dated June 3, 2008 recalling the approval of appointment of Esquerra is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE," said the decision signed by CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III and CSC Commissioners Mary Ann Mendoza and Cesar Buenaflor."

Paras-Tuazon was appointed CHO by then mayor Francis Nepomuceno in 2007 in lieu of Esquerra, who served for nine years as CHO of former mayor and now first district Representative Carmelo Lazatin.

Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, who defeated Nepomuceno in last May elections, immediately reappointed Esquerra as CHO earlier this month.

In an interview, Esquerra said that he was "definitely a victim of politics" as appointee of Lazatin during the time of Nepomuceno.

Esquerra said the case "should now rest" as he wants to prioritize his task as City Health Officer under the administration of Pamintuan, a political ally of Lazatin.

"We won't be vindictive like them," Esquerra said.

Paras-Tuazon, according to him, was assigned as Rural Health Physician in Barangay Sto. Domingo.

It could be recalled that Paras-Tuazon filed a protest before the CSC-III against Esquerra in 1999 docketed as Admin. Case No. ND3-003-99. She alleged that Esquerra's appointment failed to pass through the Personnel Selection Board (PSB).

"The absence of the Personnel Selection/Promotion Board (PSB) during the period of the appointment of Dr. Joven D. Esguerra, was due to the fact that after the Local Election in May 1998, there has been a new administration and as a consequence thereof, there should be a reconstitution of the members of the PSB, which is only (sic) consequently reconstituted on February 28, 1999, by virtue of Resolution No. 2402, Series of 1999," said the CSC in explaining why Lazatin had created an interim PSB after the May 1998 elections to choose the CHO of the City Government then.

Lazatin named Dr. Felipe Buencamino and Dr. Victor Anton Lugue as PSB interim members. He tasked Lugue and Buencamino to screen and evaluate the two applicants - Esquerra and Paras-Tuazon.

If Esquerra was denied on his motion for reconsideration before the CSC, Lazatin will be asked to pay the consequences of appointing him.

"For having rendered actual services, Dr. Esguerra is entitled to his salaries earned while performing the functions of City Health Officer based on the principle of quantum merit from November 3, 1998, the time of issuance of the subject appointment, to the time of the finality of the disapproval thereof (ref. CSC Resolution No. 95-0771 Re; Pineda, Alona). However, the salary of an employee whose appointment was recalled shall be paid by the approving authority responsible for it," said the 10-page decision.