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At the onset of a new administration, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) reminds elective and appointive officials to observe civil service rules on appointments, particularly those that prohibit nepotism.

Book V, Title I(A), Chapter 8, Section 59 of Executive Order No. 292, also known as the Administrative Code of 1987, prohibits nepotic appointments or those made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority, or of the chief of bureau or office, or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over the appointee.

The word “relative” under the said Code refers to those related within the third degree of consanguinity (relationship by blood) or affinity (relationship by marriage) such as spouse (1st degree), children (1st degree), sibling (2nd degree), nephew and niece (3rd degree), and uncle and aunt (3rd degree).

Under Section 79 of the Local Government Code of 1991, the prohibition extends to the appointing or recommending authority’s relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, such as first cousin or first cousin-in-law (4th degree).

The CSC said that nepotism is a form of corruption or abuse of authority that violates Article IX(B), Section 2(2) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states, “Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined, as far as practicable, and, except to positions which are policy-determining, primarily confidential, or highly technical, by competitive examination.”

CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala said, “Generally, appointments in the civil service should be based on merit and fitness to ensure a competent and professional workforce. There are rules and qualification standards that must be considered when choosing to appoint people in government.”

The rule on nepotism covers all kinds of appointments whether original, promotional, transfer and reemployment, regardless of status, including casuals and contractuals.

Exempted from this rule, however, are teachers, physicians, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, scientific and technology personnel under R.A. 8439, and primarily confidential positions such as Administrator (Provincial/City/Municipal), Executive Assistant, Private Secretary, and Chauffeur/Driver.

Also exempted are those involved in the personal security of elective or appointive officials; as well as the personal staff of elective officials, department heads, other Cabinet officials whose tenure is at the pleasure of the President, and chairpersons and members of commissions and boards with fixed terms of office.

Chair Bala added that because nepotism favors a few individuals, fairness in the hiring and promotion process in government is compromised. This degrades the morale of incumbent civil servants and excludes other, possibly more qualified individuals from being considered for employment.

The CSC warned that nepotism is classified as a grave administrative offense punishable by dismissal from the service.