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Bautista v. Salonga

Bautista v. Salonga

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Published by Raymond Roque

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Published by: Raymond Roque on Oct 15, 2009
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09/12/2013

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Bautista v. SalongaFacts:In the case of Sarmiento III vs. Mison, the Supreme Court held that only thoseappointments expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII are to be reviewed bythe Commission on Appointments, namely, "the heads of the executive department,ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him in thisConstitution." All other appointments by the President are to be made without the participationof the Commission on Appointments.Since the appointment of the Chairman and Members of the Commission on Human Rightsis not specifically provided for in the Constitution itself, unlike the Chairmen and Members of theCivil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit, whoseappointments are expressly vested by the Constitution in the President with the consent of theCommission on Appointments. The President appoints the Chairman and Members of theCommission on Human Rights pursuant to the second sentence in Section 16, Art. VII, that is,without the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments because they are among theofficers of government "whom he (the President) may be authorized by law to appoint." AndSection 2(c), Executive Order No. 163, 5 May 1987, authorizes the President to appoint theChairman and Members of the Commission on Human RightsOn 27 August 1987, the President of the Philippines designated Mary Concepcion Bautistaas "Acting Chairman, Commission on Human Rights." Realizing perhaps the need for apermanent chairman and members of the Commission on Human Rights, befitting anindependent office, as mandated by the Constitution, the President of the Philippines on 17December 1988 extended to Bautista a permanent appointment as Chairman of the Commission.By virtue of such appointment, Bautista was advised by the President that she couldqualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office of Chairman of theCommission on Human Rights, requiring her to furnish the office of the President and the CivilService Commission with copies of her oath of office.On 22 December 1988, before the Chief Justice Fernan, Bautista took her oath of office by virtueof her appointment as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.Immediately, after taking her oath of office as Chairman of the Commission on HumanRights, Bautista discharged the functions and duties of the Office of Chairman of the Commissionon Human Rights.On 9 January 1989, Bautista received a letter from the Secretary of the Commission onAppointments requesting her to submit to the Commission certain information and documents asrequired by its rules in connection with the confirmation of her appointment as Chairman of theCommission on Human Rights. On 10 January 1989, the Commission on Appointments' Secretaryagain wrote Bautista requesting her presence at a meeting of the Commission on AppointmentsCommittee on Justice, Judicial and Bar Council and Human Rights set for 19 January 1989 at 9A.M. at the Conference Room, 8th Floor, Kanlaon Tower I, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City that woulddeliberate on her appointment as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.On 13 January 1989, Bautista wrote to the Chairman of the Commission on Appointments stating,for the reasons therein given, why she considered the Commission on Appointments as havingno jurisdiction to review her appointment as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights.In Commission’s comment (in this case), dated 3 February 1989, there is attached asAnnex 1 a letter of the Commission on Appointments' Secretary to the Executive Secretary, Hon.Catalino Macaraig, Jr. making reference to the "ad interim appointment which Her Excellencyextended to Atty. Mary Concepcion Bautista on 14 January 1989 as Chairperson of theCommission on Human Rights" and informing Secretary Macaraig that, as previously conveyed tohim in a letter of 25 January 1989, the Commission on Appointments disapproved Bautista's "adinterim appointment' as Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights in view of her refusalto submit to the jurisdiction of the Commission on Appointments.On the same date (1 February 1989), the Commission on Appointments' Secretary informedBautista that the motion for reconsideration of the disapproval of her "ad interim appointment asChairman of the Commission on Human Rights" was denied by the Commission on Appointments.
 
In Annex 3 of Commission's same comment, dated 3 February 1989, is a news itemappearing in the 3 February 1989 issue of the "Manila Standard" reporting that the President haddesignated PCHR Commissioner Hesiquio R. Mallillin as "Acting Chairman of the Commission"pending the resolution of Bautista's case which had been elevated to the Supreme Court.On 20 January 1989, or even before the respondent Commission on Appointments hadacted on her "ad interim appointment as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights"Bautista filed with this Court the present petition for certiorari with a prayer for the immediateissuance of a restraining order, to declare "as unlawful and unconstitutional and without anylegal force and effect any action of the Commission on Appointments as well as of theCommittee on Justice, Judicial and Bar Council and Human Rights, on the lawfully extendedappointment of the Bautista as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, on the groundthat they have no lawful and constitutional authority to confirm and to review her appointment."Issue:Whether the President, subsequent to her act of 17 December 1988, and after Bautistahad qualified for the office to which she had been appointed, by taking the oath of office andactually assuming and discharging the functions and duties thereof, could extend anotherappointment to Bautista on 14 January 1989Held:When Her Excellency, the President converted Bautista's designation as Acting Chairmanto a permanent appointment as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights on 17 December1988, significantly she advised Bautista (in the same appointment letter) that, by virtue of suchappointment, she could qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office (of Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights). All that remained for Bautista to do was to rejector accept the appointment. Obviously, she accepted the appointment by taking her oath of officebefore the Chief Justice Fernan and assuming immediately thereafter the functions and duties of the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights. Bautista's appointment therefore on 17December 1988 as Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights was a completed act on thepart of the President.Constitutional Law, to begin with, is concerned with power not political convenience,wisdom, exigency, or even necessity. Neither the Executive nor the Legislative (Commission onAppointments) can create power where the Constitution confers none. The evident constitutionalintent is to strike a careful and delicate balance, in the matter of appointments to public office,between the President and Congress (the latter acting through the Commission onAppointments). To tilt one side or the other of the scale is to disrupt or alter such balance of power. In other words, to the extent that the Constitution has blocked off certain appointmentsfor the President to make with the participation of the Commission on Appointments, so also hasthe Constitution mandated that the President can confer no power of participation in theCommission on Appointments over other appointments exclusively reserved for her by theConstitution. The exercise of political options that finds no support in the Constitution cannot besustained.Nor can the Commission on Appointments, by the actual exercise of its constitutionallydelimited power to review presidential appointments, create power to confirm appointments thatthe Constitution has reserved to the President alone. Stated differently, when the appointment isone that the Constitution mandates is for the President to make without the participation of theCommission on Appointments, the executive's voluntary act of submitting such appointment tothe Commission on Appointments and the latter's act of confirming or rejecting the same, aredone without or in excess of jurisdiction.Assuming that the Executive may voluntarily allow the Commission on Appointments toexercise the power of review over an appointment otherwise solely vested by the Constitution inthe President. Yet, as already noted, when the President appointed Bautista on 17 December1988 to the position of Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights with the advice to her that

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