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Re: Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta

Power of Appointment Power and Functions of the President
Date: November 9, 1998
Ponente: THE Chief Justice Narvasa

Said appointees for vacancies of RTC Branch 62 and 24
of Cabanatuan City, Valenzuela and Vallarta respectively,
were appointed on March 30, 1998. Their appointment
was transmitted to the Office of the Chief Justice on May
12, 1998. The Court ruled said appointments were made
during the ban contemplated by Art. VII, Sec. 15,
regardless of the obligations of the President provided
under Art. VIII, Sec. 4 (1) and Art. VIII Sec. 9.

1. WoN Art. VIII Sec. 4 (1) and Sec. 9 supersede
the ban prescribed under Art. VII Sec. 15.
2. WoN the ban contemplates only Executive
appointments, and not appointments to the
3. WoN the appointments of Valenzuela and
Vallarta are valid.

1. The President had, prior to these two
appointments, made appointments to fill the
vacancies of 8 Associate Justices, on March 11,
1998, and transmitted to the Chief Justice
through the Executive Secretary on April 6,
1998. The Chief Justice took this to be the
President deviating from the previous position
that said ban does not apply to the Judiciary.
2. March 11, 1998 was the day prior to the start of
the election ban contemplated under Art. VII,
Sec. 15.
3. JBC sought clarification on this matter and met
as a whole. On May 5, Secretary of Justice
Silvestre Bello requested the Chief Justice for







JBC session to discuss the vacancies needed to

be filled.
The President had made the appointments of
the two judges, made on March 30, 1998. Prior
the JBC session, the Chief Justice promised a
reply to the President on May 6, 1998 as regards
transmitting the list of final nominees by the JBC
for a vacancy in the Supreme Court.
Supposedly, behind the Chief Justices back, the
other members of the JBC met without the
former and had also communicated to the
President on May 6, 1998 that they would seek
the Chief Justices presence and holding of a
meeting May 7. Should he not accede to the
same, they would meet anyway, in xxx
complying with its Constitutional mandate.
C.J sent a letter on May 6 saying the JBC would
convene after the elections and entertain the
appointments after the same.
May 7, the President again requested
transmission of list of nominees and asserted
that the ban applies only to Executive
May 8, the Chief Justice replied with a letter
that would address the issue the same way the
Court would resolve to later on.
Valenzuela took his office on May 14, 1998 with
the said copy of his appointment by
Malacanang in his possession, but the original
not being transmitted by the Office of the Chief
Justice just yet.

Related Provisions:

Article VII, Section 15;
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.

1. No mention of distinction of
who or who are not covered
by the general ban.
2. Exception only where xxx
temporary appointments to
executive positions when
continued vacancies therein
will prejudice public service or
endanger public safety.

Article VIII, Section 4 (1);
The Supreme Court shall be composed
of a Chief Justice and fourteen
Associate Justices. It may sit en banc
or, in its discretion, in divisions of
three, five, or seven Members. Any
vacancy shall be filled within ninety
days from the occurrence thereof.

Article VIII, Section 9;
The Members of the Supreme Court
and judges in lower courts shall be
appointed by the President from a list
of at least three nominees prepared
by the Judicial and Bar Council for
every vacancy. Such appointments
need no confirmation.

For the lower courts, the
President shall issue the appointments
within ninety days from the
submission of the list.

Art. VII, Sec. 4


1. NO. Art. VII Sec. 15 provides a ban to which Art. VIII
Sec. 4 (1) and Sec. 9 must be read in line with. Apart
from taking the Constitution as a whole, the Court
holds that the need to fill a vacancy still submits to the
Constitutional restriction on this power of the
President to appoint.

1.a. There is no distinction in the Constitution as
regards who are covered by the ban or not, regardless
of this power and ban being found under the title of
the Executive in the Constitution.

2. Hence, NO, the ban does not contemplate only
Executive appointments.

The appointments are DECLARED VOID. Said judges are
ordered to CEASE AND DESIST from discharging the
office of Judge of the Courts. This, without prejudice to
their being considered anew by the Judicial and Bar
Council for re-nomination to the same positions.

Presidential Term:
a. 6 years
b. From June 30, noon 20XX to
June 30, noon 6 years later
Elections for the Presidency are held
on the second Monday of May on
the same year of the end of the
Presidents term. Hence;
In this case:
March 12, 1998 as the identified
start of the ban
Ban ends June 30, 1998
Period is some 90 days or three
months coverage
Appointments of Valenzuela and
Vallarta were made WHEN the same
were signed on March 30, 1998. The
transmission of the appointments
were made on M ay 12, 1998. Both
fell w ithin the ban.
It w ould seem then that the
reckoning point of when
appointment is m ade is WHEN IT IS
It w ould not seem to preclude that
the transmission be made within
the election ban period. The
Constitution explicitly bans MAKING