The alleged inconsistency between his earlier

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The alleged inconsistency between his earlier statements of being in private law practice in his Bio-Data and Personal Data Sheet and his proffered evidence now showing the nature and extent of his services to the DepEd and its Secretary and to the BNE is more apparent than real. The perception of continuous and uninterrupted exercise of one’s legal profession, despite periodic interruptions foisted by public service, is not uncommon among legal practitioners. After all, legal counselling work, even if rendered to a government agency, is part of legal practice. Nonetheless, Justice Brion insists that no substantial proof has been presented to support the interference that the work rendered by CJ Panganiban constituted government service and hence, the application of liberality in the appreciation and interpretation of the law is unjustified. Admittedly, the only evidence presented to support CJ Panganiban’s claim that he w orked as Legal Counsel to the DepEd and its Secretary and as Consultant to the BNE are Sworn Statements of Retired Justice Prado and Former Education Secretary Roces and the submissions of CJ Panganiban but this evidence can hardly be considered undeserving of weight and lacking in substance, coming from a retired member of the Court, a former Cabinet Secretary and a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, whose credibility remains untarnished and is beyond question. Justice Brion himself does not dispute the veracity of their claims that CJ Panganiban did, in fact, render actual service. Hence, notwithstanding the absence of any other record of CJ Panganiban’s appointment to a position or item within the DepEd and the BNE, his actual service to these government agencies must be regarded as no less than
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 109 government service and should, therefore, be credited in his favour consistent with the Court’s liberal rulings in the cases of CJ Narvasa and Justice Sarmiento. The Supreme Court has unquestionably followed the practice of liberal treatment in passing upon retirement claims of judges and justices, thus: : (1) waiving the lack of required length of service in cases of disability or death while in actual service or distinctive service; (2) adding accumulated leave credits to the actual length of government service in order to qualify one for retirement; (3) tacking post- retirement service in order to complete the u=years of government service required; (4) extending the full benefits of retirement upon compassionate and humanitarian considerations; and (5) considering legal counselling work for a government body or institution as creditable government service. In the instant case, no liberal construction is even necessary to resolve the merits of CJ Panganiban’s request. The Court need only observe consistency in its rulings.
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 110 FUNA V. AGRA G.R. No. 191644, February 19, 2013 En Banc, Bersamin, J.
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