RULE X. GROUNDS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCIPLINARY ACTION
SECTION 1. In addition to the grounds for administrative disciplinary action prescribed under existing laws, the acts and omissions of any official or employee, whether or not he holds office or employment in a casual, temporary, hold-over, permanent or regular capacity, declared unlawful or prohibited by the Code, shall constitute grounds for administrative disciplinary action, and without prejudice to criminal and civil liabilities provided herein, such as:
(a) Directly or indirectly having financial and material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of his office. x x x.
(b) Owning, controlling, managing or accepting employment as officer, employee, consultant, counsel, broker, agent, trustee, or nominee in any private enterprise regulated, supervised or licensed by his office, unless expressly allowed by law;
(c) Engaging in the private practice of his profession unless authorized by the Constitution, law or regulation, provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with his official functions;
(d) Recommending any person to any position in a private enterprise which has a regular or pending official transaction with his office, unless such recommendation or referral is mandated by (1) law, or (2) international agreements, commitment and obligation, or as part of the functions of his office;
x x x x
(e) Disclosing or misusing confidential or classified information officially known to him by reason of his office and not made available to the public, to further his private interests or give undue advantage to anyone, or to prejudice the public interest;
(f) Soliciting or accepting, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value which in the course of his official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of, his office. x x x.
x x x x
(g) Obtaining or using any statement filed under the Code for any purpose contrary to morals or public policy or any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public;
(h) Unfair discrimination in rendering public service due to party affiliation or preference;
(i) Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines and to the Filipino people;
(j) Failure to act promptly on letters and request within fifteen (15) days from receipt, except as otherwise provided in these Rules;
(k) Failure to process documents and complete action on documents and papers within a reasonable time from preparation thereof, except as otherwise provided in these Rules;
(l) Failure to attend to anyone who wants to avail himself of the services of the office, or to act promptly and expeditiously on public personal transactions;
(m) Failure to file sworn statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, and disclosure of business interests and financial connections; and
(n) Failure to resign from his position in the private business enterprise within thirty (30) days from assumption of public office when conflict of interest arises, and/or failure to divest himself of his shareholdings or interests in private business enterprise within sixty (60) days from such assumption of public office when conflict of interest arises: Provided, however, that for those who are already in the service and a conflict of interest arises, the official or employee must either resign or divest himself of said interests within the periods herein-above provided, reckoned from the date when the conflict of interest had arisen.
In Domingo v. Office of the Ombudsman, this Court had the occasion to rule that failure to abide by the norms of conduct under Section 4(A)(b) of R.A. No. 6713, in relation to its implementing rules, is not a ground for disciplinary action, to wit:
The charge of violation of Section 4(b) of R.A. No. 6713 deserves further comment. The provision commands that “public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill.” Said provision merely enunciates “professionalism as an ideal norm of conduct to be observed by public servants, in addition to commitment to public interest, justness and sincerity, political neutrality, responsiveness to the public, nationalism and patriotism, commitment to democracy and simple living. Following this perspective, Rule V of the Implementing Rules of R.A. No. 6713 adopted by the Civil Service Commission mandates the grant of incentives and rewards to officials and employees who demonstrate exemplary service and conduct based on their observance of the norms of conduct laid down in Section 4. In other words, under the mandated incentives and rewards system, officials and employees who comply with the high standard set by law would be rewarded. Those who fail to do so cannot expect the same favorable treatment. However, the Implementing Rules does not provide that they will have to be sanctioned for failure to observe these norms of conduct. Indeed, Rule X of the Implementing Rules affirms as grounds for administrative disciplinary action only acts “declared unlawful or prohibited by the Code.” Rule X specifically mentions at least twenty three (23) acts or omissions as grounds for administrative disciplinary action. Failure to abide by the norms of conduct under Section 4(b) of R.A. No. 6713 is not one of them. (Emphasis supplied.)
Consequently, the Court dismissed the charge of violation of Section 4(A)(b) of R.A. No. 6713 in that case.
We find no compelling reason to depart from our pronouncement in Domingo. Thus, we reverse the CA and Ombudsman that petitioner is administratively liable under Section 4(A)(b) of R.A. No. 6713. In so ruling, we do no less and no more than apply the law and its implementing rules issued by the CSC under the authority given to it by Congress. Needless to stress, said rules partake the nature of a statute and are binding as if written in the law itself. They have the force and effect of law and enjoy the presumption of constitutionality and legality until they are set aside with finality in an appropriate case by a competent court.