Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino

Court of Appeals: Suspension of KWF head Arthur Casanova ‘invalid’


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Court of Appeals: Suspension of KWF head Arthur Casanova ‘invalid’

Arthur Casanova's Facebook

In 2022, two Komisyon Sa Wikang Filipino commissioners suspended Casanova for his supposed 'failure to call and preside over' the commission's meetings

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has ruled that the 2022 suspension of Komisyon Sa Wikang Filipino head Arthur Casanova is “invalid.”

The CA Special Seventh Division said in its decision that Casanova was “denied due process” and suspended without a formal charge filed against him. The court overturned a Manila Regional Trial Court decision that dismissed his petition against the suspension.

Casanova was appointed as the chairperson of KWF in 2020. In June 2022, KWF commissioners Benjamin Mendillo Jr. and Carmelita Abdurahman suspended him from service from July to October 12, on account of his “supposed failure to call and preside over KWF meetings.” His suspension was extended from November 2022 to February 2023 .

Casanova filed a petition against the resolution, insisting that since he is a presidential appointee, the commissioners had no power to suspend him.

He argued that the “disciplining authority of presidential appointees resides with the President,” and deemed the resolution “unconstitutional” because no preliminary investigation was conducted prior to his suspension and his “right to due process was violated.”

The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) dismissed Casanova’s petition, ruling that he “failed to exhaust administrative remedies available to him prior to the filing of his petition.”

On February 28, 2024, the CA invalidated the RTC ruling, saying that the RTC had “no authority” to suspend Casanova, and the disciplining authority lies with the President, since the KWF’s charter is under the Office of the President. The KWF Commissioners were also called out for “disregarding the proper procedure in administrative investigations.”

After the reversed ruling, the CA said that Casanova should be paid for the salaries he did not receive during his suspension period. – Rappler.com

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