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ISSUE: Whether petitioners' appointments violate Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution
FACTS: The present consolidated cases involve four petitions: G.R. No. 203372 with Atty. Cheloy E. Velicaria-Garafil, who was appointed State Solicitor II at the Office of the Solicitor General, as petitioner; G.R. No. 206290 with Atty. Dindo G. Venturanza, who was appointed Prosecutor IV of Quezon City, as petitioner; G.R. No. 209138 with Irma A. Villanueva , who was appointed Administrator for Visayas of the Board of Administrators of the Cooperative Development Authority, and Francisca B. Rosquita, who was appointed Commissioner of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples, as petitioners; and G.R. No. 212030 with Atty. Eddie U. Tamondong, who was appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, as petitioner. Prior to the conduct of the May 2010 elections, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued more than 800 appointments to various positions in several government offices. The ban on midnight appointments in Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution reads: Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety. Thus, for purposes of the 2010 elections, 10 March 2010 was the cutoff date for valid appointments and the next day, 11 March 2010, was the start of the ban on midnight appointments. Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution recognizes as an exception to the ban on midnight appointments only "temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety." None of the petitioners claim that their appointments fall under this exception. On 30 June 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III (President Aquino) took his oath of office as President of the Republic of the Philippines. On 30 July 2010, President Aquino issued EO 2 recalling, withdrawing, and revoking appointments issued by President Macapagal-Arroyo which violated the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.
DECISION: the petitions in G.R. Nos. 203372, 206290, and 212030 are DENIED, and the petition in G.R. No. 209138 is DISMISSED. The appointments of petitioners Atty. Cheloy E. Velicaria-Garafil (G.R. No. 203372), Atty. Dindo G. Venturanza (G.R. No. 206290), Irma A. Villanueva, and Francisca B. Rosquita (G.R. No. 209138), and Atty. Eddie U. Tamondong (G.R. No. 212030) are declared VOID.
RATIO DECIDENDI: The following elements should always concur in the making of a valid (which should be understood as both complete and effective) appointment: (1) authority to appoint and evidence of the exercise of the authority; The President's exercise of his power to appoint officials is provided for in the Constitution and laws. Discretion is an integral part in the exercise of the power of appointment. Considering that appointment calls for a selection, the appointing power necessarily exercises a discretion. (2) transmittal of the appointment paper and evidence of the transmittal; It is not enough that the President signs the appointment paper. There should be evidence that the President intended the appointment paper to be issued. It could happen that an appointment paper may be dated and signed by the President months before the appointment ban, but never left his locked drawer for the entirety of his term. Release of the appointment paper through the MRO is an unequivocal act that signifies the President's intent of its issuance. (3) a vacant position at the time of appointment; and (4) receipt of the appointment paper and acceptance of the appointment by the appointee who possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Acceptance is indispensable to complete an appointment. Assuming office and taking the oath amount to acceptance of the appointment. An oath of office is a qualifying requirement for a public office, a prerequisite to the full investiture of the office. Petitioners have failed to show compliance with all four elements of a valid appointment. They cannot prove with certainty that their appointment papers were transmitted before the appointment ban took effect. On the other hand, petitioners admit that they took their oaths of office during the appointment ban.
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