BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Court of Appeals (CA) ruled that the appointment of 214 provincial employees in 2013 by the then outgoing governor is illegal and void.
In its unanimous decision dated April 25, 2016, the CA recalled and nullified the appointments made by former governor, now congresswoman-elect Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, citing the improper constitution of the Provincial Selection and Promotions Board (PSPB) that screened and deliberated the appointments.
“These manifest the circumvention of the foregoing prohibition and the intention of outgoing Governor Cuaresma to defeat the spirit placed upon by law on midnight appointments,” the decision said.
The decision also said there was absence of availability of funds to cover the appointed employees’ salaries and appointments made immediately preceding the 2013 elections.
The CA decision was authored by Associate Justice Renato Francisco and concurred by three other justices.
The case stemmed from Executive Order No. 3 issued by now outgoing Gov. Ruth Padilla on July 1, 2013 upon her assumption of office, nullifying and recalling the appointments made by Cuaresma.
In recalling the appointments, Padilla claimed that the same “was in violation of the local government code as well as the Civil Service laws, rules and regulations.”
She also argued that the appointments and promotions of the affected employees violated the Omnibus Election Code as these were “made during the prohibitory period of 45 days prior to the May 13 elections.”
But upon appeal, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) ordered the reinstatement of employees in its decision on September 26, 2014 ruling that the provincial chief executive “has no authority to recall, withdraw and revoke the appointments of the employees whose appointments were permanent since such power only resides in the Commission.”
The CSC said: “…that the appointments were supposedly tainted by serious legal infirmities that rendered them void ab initio does not justify the governor into arrogating unto herself the power to strike down the appointments in question.”
However, the CA ruled otherwise and granted the appeal on the CSC ruling.