The Supreme Court (SC) has declared the legality and constitutionality of Executive Order (EO) 2 issued by President Benigno Aquino 3rd sacking alleged “midnight appointees” of then-President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The SC en banc voted 8-6 as it junked petitions filed by the midnight appointees of Arroyo and ruled that their appointments were “null and void.”
Among the petitioners who lost their cases before the High Court were former Board Member Eddie Tamondong of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Solicitor Cheloy Garafil of the Office of the Solicitor-General, Quezon City Prosecutor Dindo Venturanza and Irma Villanueva, who was appointed as administrator forVisayas of the Board of Administrators of the Cooperative Development Authority.
For the purposes of the May 2010 elections, the cut-off date against midnight appointees was March 11, 2010.
The four petitioners were appointed ahead of the March 11, 2010 ban but their oath of office and assumption came beyond the period of the ban.
The SC argued that EO 2 does not violate Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.
The clear intent behind the ban on making midnight appointments has been established and since the appointments contemplated in the provision included acceptance, taking of an oath and assumption of duties by the appointees, the executive order cannot be said to be without sufficient basis.
“The petitioners have failed to show their compliance with all four elements of valid appointment. They cannot prove with certainty that their appointment papers have indeed been issued before the period covered by the appointment ban. On the other hand, the petitioners admit that they took their oaths of office during the period covered by the appointment ban,” the SC ruled.
In their petition, the alleged midnight appointees argued that the President summarily dismissed them without just cause and without compliance with cardinal requirements of due process.
They claimed that Executive Order 2 violated Section 2b, Article IX of the Constitution by depriving civil service employees of security of tenure.
Citing Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992,Tamondong pointed out in his petition before the High Court that he was appointed by Mrs. Arroyo as director of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority for a term of six years (March 2010 to March 2016).
Garafil was a solicitor at the Office of the Solicitor-General, but then Solicitor-General Jose Anselmo Cadiz sacked him for being Arroyo’s “midnight appointee” even without notice and hearing.