EO 2 constitutional, sacks 5 Arroyo appointees

Court of Appeals. Courtesy of CA website.

The Court of Appeals today upheld the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 2, which revoked the ‘midnight appointments’ made by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before stepping down from office.

Five of six petitions seeking to declare EO 2 unconstitutional were denied by CA’s former Eighth Division presided by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, thus validating the revocation of their midnight appointments.

Former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority board member Eddie Tamondong, former Philippine National Railways general manager Manuel Andal, former Nayong Pilipino Foundation executive director Charito Planas, former State Solicitor II Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil, and Quezon City Posecutor Dindo Venturanza were revoked of their appointments, all done beyond the constitutional two-month ban on exercising appointing powers by the President starting March 11, 2010.

However, the said division referred to President Aquino whether or not to uphold the appointments of Garafil and Venturanza.

CA justified EO 2’s sacking of their appointments as mandated by Article VII, Section 15 of the Constitution, which prohibits the President from doing such two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term.

The said petitioners argued about the issue of overbreath and grave abuse of discretion in the implementation of EO2, which was issued through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. on July 30, 2010. “Each appointment must be judged on the basis of nature, character and merits of the individual appointment,” Venturanza even stressed.

The following took their oaths of office before Aroyo: Venturanza on March 15; Andal and Garafil on March 22; Tamondong on March 25;  and Planas on April 21.

‘Midnight’ appointee ordered reinstated

Meanwhile, CA ordered the reinstatement of Bai Omera Lucman, former commissioner of the National Council on Muslim Filipinos, who was appointed a day just before the two-month ban, an be entitled to her salary and other benefits for the period she was removed from the post.

CA also found no ground to sack her appointment after the Office of the Solicitor General argued about her being the Amirul Hajj, or the head of the Philippine delegation to the annual Hajj at Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is performed by only men.

In its 29-page ruling, CA explained that the Philippines never requires that the Amirul Hajj must know how to lead prayer or deliver sermon to the congregation, which is done by men, and is more of social, ceremonial or diplomatic function.

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