ISSUE: Whether or not the designation of Agra as the Acting Secretary of Justice, concurrently with his position of Acting Solicitor General, violate the constitutional prohibition against dual or multiple offices for the Members of the Cabinet and their deputies
FACTS: Petitioner alleges that Hon. Alberto C. Agra was appointed by the president to be the Acting Secretary of Justice and that Agra was also subsequently appointed as Acting Solicitor General in concurrent capacity. Respondent has a different story, he alleged that he was assigned to be the Acting Solicitor General first then was subsequently assigned to be the Acting Secretary of Justice. Agra also alleged that he relinquished his position as Acting Solicitor General but kept performing his duties until his successor was appointed. Nothwithstanding the conflict in the versions of the parties, the fact that Agra has admitted to holding the two offices concurrently in acting capacities is settled, which is sufficient for purposes of resolving the constitutional question that petitioner raises herein.
RATIO DECIDENDI: According to the Public Interest Center, Inc. v. Elma, the only two exceptions: (1) those provided for under the Constitution, such as Section 3, Article VII, authorizing the Vice Presided to become a member of the Cabinet; and (2) posts occupied by Executive officials specified in Section 13, Article VII without additional compensation in ex officio capacities as provided by law and as ewquires by the primary functions of the officials’ offices. The primary functions of the Office of the Solicitor General are not related or necessary to the primary functions of the Department of Justice. Considering that the nature and duties of the two offices are such as to render it improper, from considerations of public policy, for one person to retain both, an incompatibility between the offices exists, further warranting the declaration of Agra’s designation as the Acting Secretary of Justice, concurrently with his designation as the Acting Solicitor General, to be void for being in violation of the express provisions of the Constitution.