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Case Digest: Funa v. Ermita
ISSUE: Whether or not the designation of respondent Bautista as OIC of MARINA, concurrent with the position of DOTC Undersecretary for Maritime Transport to which she had been appointed, violated the constitutional proscription against dual or multiple offices f
FACTS: On October 4, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed respondent Maria Elena H. Bautista (Bautista) as Undersecretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). Bautista was designated as Undersecretary for Maritime Transport of the department under Special Order No. 2006-171 dated October 23, 2006. On September 1, 2008, following the resignation of then MARINA Administrator Vicente T. Suazo, Jr., Bautista was designated as Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Office of the Administrator, MARINA, in concurrent capacity as DOTC Undersecretary. On October 21, 2008, Dennis A. B. Funa in his capacity as taxpayer, concerned citizen and lawyer, filed the instant petition challenging the constitutionality of Bautista's appointment/designation, which is proscribed by the prohibition on the President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies and assistants to hold any other office or employment.
RATIO DECIDENDI: Sec. 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. On the other hand, Section 7, paragraph (2), Article IX-B reads: Sec. 7. Unless otherwise allowed by law or the primary functions of his position, no appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the Government or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. Thus, the Court ruled these sweeping, all-embracing prohibitions imposed on the President and his official family, which prohibitions are not similarly imposed on other public officials or employees such as the Members of Congress, members of the civil service in general and members of the armed forces, are proof of the intent of the 1987 Constitution to treat the President and his official family as a class by itself and to impose upon said class stricter prohibitions.
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