MIDNIGHT APPOINTEES: NOY, NOW HESITANT TO INCLUDE JUDICIARY APPOINTEES
 

[PHOTO AT LEFT COURTESY OF IMANHORN WORDPRESS BLOGGER]

MANILA, AUGUST 10, 2010 (STAR) By Delon Porcalla - Malacañang is now hesitant to include the judiciary in the campaign to remove midnight appointees of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo de Mesa said unlike appointees in the executive department, those in the judiciary are screened by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

“We still have to look into that. I think we have to study that more deeply,” he said when asked about midnight appointees in the judiciary.

De Mesa said he was initially of the impression that members of the judiciary could be included among the dismissed appointees in view of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Renato Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice.

The SC ruled what while the appointment of a chief justice during the election period was valid, other members of the judiciary were not covered by the exemption.

President Aquino had said during the campaign that he would not recognize Arroyo’s appointment of a chief justice, since it fell within the period of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

But he has since acknowledged Corona’s appointment following the Supreme Court decision.

“The (Corona case) does not cover (other) appointments to the judiciary,” De Mesa said. “There were pronouncements that this only applies to the chief justice.”

“It had a subsequent ruling that only the chief justice (is covered),” he added. “As I said, we’ll have to examine the appointments to the judiciary. We will examine if the appointments were made during the prohibited period. They can also be questioned.”

Earlier, De Mesa said Arroyo’s midnight appointments to the judiciary may also be revoked by President Aquino.

However, Executive Order 2 excluded judiciary appointments.

Section 1 specifically covered only those in the executive “departments, agencies, offices and instrumentalities, including GOCCs.”

De Mesa said the jurisprudence on the issue is the Vallarta doctrine, where midnight appointments to the judiciary were voided.

“That is based on the decision of the SC in the case of Valenzuela and Vallarta, re-appointments of Hon. Mateo Valenzuela and Vallarta,” he said.

De Mesa said there were 977 appointments made before the ban, including undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, agrarian reform officers and provincial prosecutors.

“I’m not saying that all of those 977 can be considered as midnight appointments,” he said.

“That is the total number. Some of those appointments could be valid. We’ll have to consider them one by one,” he said.

In issuing EO 2, Mr. Aquino revoked Arroyo’s appointments that violated the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.

The constitutional ban on appointments took effect 45 days before the May 10 elections.

Ordered revoked were appointments made on or after March 11 and also those made before March 11 in which the appointee had accepted, or taken his oath, or assumed office on or after March 11, 2010.

Also covered by the revocation were “anticipated appointments,” or those made before March 11 but took effect after that day, or appointments to positions that became vacant only after March 11.

Not covered by the revocation order were “temporary appointments in the executive positions when continued vacancies will prejudice public service or endanger public safety as may be determined by the appointing authority.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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