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G.R. No. L-65917 – 154 SCRA 225 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Legislative Department – Powers of Congress – Power of the Purse – Appropriation
Dr. Francisco Perez, the City Health Officer of San Pablo City, was named “Outstanding Health Worker” in 1980. Being an awardee, he is entitled to have a salary increase pursuant to Letter Of Instruction 562. The Ministry of Health submitted to the Sangguniang Panglunsod of San Pablo City to have the funds be appropriated for Perez’ salary. The SP however denied the request claiming that the said LOI only applies to employees or officials of the national government and Perez is a local government employee hence not covered. Upon appeal, the Office of the Budget and Management determined that Perez is a national government employee hence he is entitled to such increase. However, Manuel Alba – the Minister of Budget – refused to recognize Perez’ right to such increase because he averred that the constitution provides that no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law. Perez then filed a mandamus case against Alba. The trial court judge granted the petition for mandamus.
ISSUE: Whether or not Perez is entitled to such increment per the said LOI.
HELD: Yes. Provincial and city health officers are all considered national government officials irrespective of the source of funds of their salary because the preservation of health is a national service. Besides, Perez is an employee of the Ministry of Health and not of the city of San Pablo. Also their positions are partially funded by the national government. Some are receiving one-half of their salary from the national funds and the other one-half from local funds. Others are wholly paid by either the local or the national government.
There is no basis in Alba’s allegations that they cannot be compelled by mandamus as the appropriation is not authorized by law and it is discretionary on the part of the Ministry of the Budget whether or not to allocate. Perez has been proven to be a national government official, hence covered by the merit promotion plan of the government more particularly the Health Ministry wherein Perez is its lone beneficiary for the year 1980 in Region IV. It thus becomes the ministerial duty of the Budget Minister to approve the request for allotment. Having failed to do so, he could be compelled by mandamus.