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G.R. No.

75025 September 14, 1993 dated 12 October 1982 on the ground that the executive clemency
granted to him did not provide for the payment of back salaries and that
VICENTE GARCIA, petitioner, he has not been reinstated in the service.
vs.
THE HONORABLE CHAIRMAN, COMMISSION ON AUDIT, THE Issue: Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to the payment of back
HONORABLE MINISTER, LAND TRANSPORTATION AND wages after having been reinstated pursuant to the grant of executive
COMMUNICATIONS, THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TELECOM clemency.
REGIONAL OFFICE NO. IV, respondents.
Ruling: Yes. The petition is meritorious.
Facts
Our Constitution reposes in the President the power and the exclusive
Petitioner was a Supervising Lineman in the Region IV Station prerogative to extend executive clemency under the following
of the Bureau of Telecommunications in Lucena City. On 1 April 1975, circumstances:
petitioner was summarily dismissed from the service on the ground of
dishonesty in accordance with the decision of the then Ministry of Except in cases of impeachment or as otherwise provided in
Public Works, Transportation and Communications in Adm. Case No. this Constitution, the President may grant reprieves,
975 for the loss of several telegraph poles which were located at the commutations, and pardons, and remit fines and forfeitures,
Sariaya-Lucena City and Mauban-Sampaloc, Quezon, telecom lines. after conviction by final judgment.
Petitioner did not appeal from the decision.
He shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the
Based on the same facts obtaining in the administrative action, concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the
a criminal case for qualified theft was filed against petitioner with the Congress.
then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of Quezon. On
23 January 1980, the trial court rendered its decision acquitting From among the different acts of executive clemency spelled
petitioner of the offense charged. out above, the clemency granted to petitioner in the instant case
partakes of the nature of an executive pardon
Consequently, petitioner sought reinstatement to his former
position Time and again this Court has unfolded the effects of a pardon
in view of his acquittal in the criminal case. In an indorsement dated 7 upon the individual to whom it is granted. In Monsanto v. Factoran, we
April 1980, petitioner's request to be reinstated was denied by the have firmly established the general rule that while a pardon has
Bureau of generally been regarded as blotting out the existence of guilt so that in
the eyes of the law the offender is as innocent as though he never
Per Resolution No. O.P. 1800, granted executive clemency to petitioner. committed the offense, it does not operate for all purposes. The very
essence of a pardon is forgiveness or remission of guilt and not
forgetfulness . It does not erase the fact of the commission of the crime
Petitioner thereafter filed with respondent COA a claim for
and the conviction thereof.
payment of back salaries effective 1 April 1975, the date of his dismissal
from the service. This was denied by the COA in its 5th Indorsement
But, stated otherwise, if the pardon is based on the innocence otherwise would defeat the very intention of the executive
of the individual, it affirms this innocence and makes him a new man clemency, i.e., to give justice to petitioner.
and as innocent; as if he had not been found guilty of the offense
charged. When a person is given pardon because he did not truly Moreover, the right to back wages is afforded to those with
commit the offense, the pardon relieves the party from all punitive have been illegally dismissed and were thus ordered reinstated or to
consequences of his criminal act, thereby restoring to him his clean those otherwise acquitted of the charges against them. There is no
name, good reputation and unstained character prior to the finding of doubt that petitioner's case falls within the situations aforementioned
guilt. to entitle him to back wages.

In the case at bar, petitioner was found administratively liable Further, it is worthy to note that the dismissal of petitioner was
for dishonesty and consequently dismissed from the service. However, not the result of any criminal conviction that carried with it forfeiture of
he was later acquitted by the trial court of the charge of qualified theft the right to hold public office, but is the direct consequence of an
based on the very same acts for which he was dismissed. administrative decision of a branch of the Executive Department over
which the President, as its head, has the power of control.
The acquittal of petitioner by the trial court was founded not
on lack of proof beyond reasonable doubt but on the fact that petitioner After having been declared innocent of the crime of qualified
did not commit the offense imputed to him. Aside from finding him theft, which also served as basis for the administrative charge,
innocent of the charge, the trial court commended petitioner for his petitioner should not be considered to have left his office for all legal
concern and dedication as a public servant. Verily, petitioner's purposes, so that he is entitled to all the rights and privileges that
innocence is the primary reason behind the grant of executive clemency accrued to him by virtue of the office held, including back wages
to him, bolstered by the favorable recommendations for his
reinstatement by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications
and the Civil Service Commission.

The bestowal of executive clemency on petitioner in effect


completely obliterated the adverse effects of the administrative
decision which found him guilty of dishonesty and ordered his
separation from the service. This can be inferred from the executive
clemency itself exculpating petitioner from the administrative charge
and thereby directing his reinstatement, which is rendered automatic
by the grant of the pardon. This signifies that petitioner need no longer
apply to be reinstated to his former employment; he is restored to his
office ipso facto upon the issuance of the clemency.

Petitioner's automatic reinstatement to the government service


entitles him to back wages. This is meant to afford relief to petitioner
who is innocent from the start and to make reparation for what he has
suffered as a result of his unjust dismissal from the service. To rule