THE Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Executive Order (EO) No. 2 that nullified “midnight appointments” made by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a 23-page decision promulgated last August 28 and penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, the CA’s former 8th Division dismissed the petition of Irma Villanueva and Francisca Rosquita to nullify EO 2.
EO No. 2 “was a valid exercise of the executive powers of the President in ensuring that the rule on midnight appointments is properly implemented,” the Court ruled.
On March 3, 2010, Arroyo appointed Villanueva as administrator for the Visayas of the Board of Administrators of the Cooperative Development Authority in the Department of Finance. Villanueva was sworn in on April 13, 2010.
Rosquita was appointed as commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous
Peoples (NCIP) on March 5, 2010 and took her oath on March 18, 2010.
On October 11, 2010, Villanueva and Rosquita went to the Court of Appeals after Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa issued a memorandum revoking their appointments.
Rosquita wrote to the Civil Service Commission Personnel Policies and Standards Office on July 12, 2010, inquiring whether the state employees appointed before March 10, 2010 were considered midnight appointees.
The commission replied on August 31, 2010 that under CSC Appointment Rules, government employees appointed before March 10, 2010 were not considered midnight appointees, even if they had taken their oaths of office or assumed office after that date.
Villanueva and Rosquita said EO 2 ignored the CSC’s prerogative as an independent constitutional commission.
But the appeals court ruled that “the CSC formulates must not override, but must be in harmony with, the law it seeks to apply and implement.”
Villanueva and Rosquita “ . . . are midnight appointees within the contemplation of Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution,” it added.
Concurring with the decision were Associate Justice Romeo Barza and Edwin Sorongon.