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#57 De Los Santos vs.

DOCTRINE: Positions which are NOT primarily confidential,
highly technical and policy-determining cannot be removed
except for cause. They also cannot be removed at the
presidents pleasure.
1. De Los Santos was appointed by the president and
confirmed by the CSC as City Engineer of Baguio City.
2. Mallare was extended an ad interim appointed by the
President to said position so De Los Santos filed a quo
warranto case against him.
3. De Los Santos argues that he cannot be removed
against his will and without cause under Art. 12 Sec 4
of the Constitution
a. "No officer or employee in the Civil Service shall
be removed or suspended except for cause as
provided by law."
ISSUE: WON De Los Santos may be removed from his position
at the presidents pleasure
4. The Revised Administrative Code Sec 2545 provides
that the president may remove at pleasure any of the
said appointive officers.
5. The constitution provided for cause as provided by
law. It left to the Congress the causes for removal. It
may mean that the presidents choice to remove is a
cause itself.
6. For cause means for reasons which the law and sound
public policy recognized as sufficient warrant for
removal, that is, legal cause, and not merely causes
which the appointing power in the exercise of
discretion may deem sufficient. It is implied that
officers may not be removed at the mere will of those

vested with the power of removal, or without any

cause. Moreover, the cause must relate to and affect
the administration of the office, and must be restricted
to something of a substantial nature directly affecting
the rights and interests of the public.
7. BUT if the appointees in the Civil Service may be
removed at the presidents pleasure, would render
useless the merit system in the Civil Service.
8. The position city engineer merely executes policies,
ministerial in character, and technical but not highly
a. It is not primarily confidential, policydetermining, nor highly technical
i. These positions (primarily confidential
etc) require the highest degree of
confidence and are excluded from the
merit system. Thus, may be removed by
the president at will.
9. We are not declaring any part of section 2545 of the
Revised Administrative Code unconstitutional. What we
declare is that the particular provision thereof
which gave the Chief Executive power to remove
officers at pleasure has been repealed by the
Constitution and ceased to be operative from
the time that instrument went into effect.
a. the questioned part of section 2545 of the
Revised Administrative Code does not need a
positive declaration of nullity by the court to put
it out of the way. To all intents and purposes, it
is non-existent, outlawed and eliminated from
the statute book by the Constitution itself by
express mandate before this petitioner was
DISPOSITIVE: De Los Santos cannot be removed except for
cause. Thus, Mallares appointment to the same position is