Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the legality and constitutionality of Pres. Aquino’s Executive Order (EO) No. 2 which led to the sacking of one of the alleged “midnight appointees” of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a 23-page decision by its former 8th Division dated June 10, penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, the appellate court ruled that the appointment of Atty. Jose Sonny G. Matula as commissioner of the Social Security Commission (SSC) is a “midnight appointment.”

“Wherefore, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby dismissed. Executive Order No. 2 is hereby declared not unconstiutional. Accordingly, the revocation of Petitioner-Intervenor Atty. Jose Sonny G. Matula’s appointment as Commissioner of the Social Security Commission is valid, the same being a midnight appointment,” the decision read.

The ruling stated that a midnight appointment is a “void appointment (and) confers no rights whatsoever.”

“Hence, no violation of the Constitution was caused by the revocation of his appointment as SSC Commissioner,” the decision read.

The appellate court ruled that the said executive issuance is not violative of Sec 15, Art VII of the 1987 Constitution.

Sec. 15 states: “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.”

“The clear intent behind the ban on making midnight appointments have been established and since the appointment contemplated in said provision includes the acceptance, taking of an oath and assumption of duties by the appointee, E.O. No. 2 cannot be said to be without sufficient basis,” the decision read.

Mrs. Arroyo appointed Matula as SSC Acting Commissioner on Sept. 21, 2006, and then as Commissioner of SSC (Labor Sector representative) on March 5, 2010. He took his oath for the latter post on April 14, 2010.

Malacanang, under Pres. Aquino, considered Matula’s appointment as a “midnight appointment” since he took his oath during the election ban.

The appellate court also ruled that the tenure of offices of 6 employees, being “coterminous” with that of Matula’s, “was necessarily in order.” (MNS)