You are on page 1of 13

DE FACTO OFFICERS

A.
One who has the reputation of being the
officer that he assumes to be, and yet is not a
Defined.
good officer in point of law [Torres v. Ribo, 81 Phil
44]. He must have acted as an officer for such length
of time, under color of title and under such
circumstances of reputation or acquiescence by the
public and public authorities, as to afford a
presumption of election or appointment, and induce
people, without inquiry, and relying on the
supposition that he is the officer he assumes to be,
to submit to or invoke his action.

B. Legal Effect of Acts; Rationale.


acts of the de facto public officer, insofar
The
as they affect the public, are valid, binding and
with full legal effect. The doctrine is intended
not for the protection of the public officer, but
for the protection of the public and individuals
who get involved in the official acts of
persons discharging the duties of a public
office [Monroy
v. Court of Appeals, 20 SCRA 620].

C. Elements.
1. A validly existing public office. See Tuamda
v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 110544, October
16, 1995.
2. Actual physical possession of said office.
3.

Color of title to the office.

There is color of title to the office in any


of the following cases:
Bv reputation or acquiescence,
the public, without inquiry, relies on
the supposition that he is the public officer
that he purports to be. This is acquired
usually when the individual has acted as
an officer for such a length of time that
the public believes that he is the public
officer that he assumes to be.

a.

b. Under a known and


valid
appointment
or
election, but the officer failed
to conform to a requirement
imposed bv law, e.g., taking
the oath of office.

c.
a
appointment or
election, void
because of the ineligibility
Under
known
the officer, or want of authority of the
of
appointing
or
electing
authority,
because of an irregularity in
or
appointment or election, such ineligibility,
his
want of authority or
being
irregularity unknown to the public.

d. Under a known
or election pursuant to an
appointment
unconstitutional law, before
the
law
declared
is
unconstitutional.

D.

Entitlement to Salaries. The general rule is that

the rightful incumbent of a public office may


recover from an officer de facto the salary
received by the latter during the time of his
wrongful tenure, even though he entered into the
office in good faith and under color of title [Monroy
v. Court of Appeals.]. In General Manager, PPA
v. Monserate, G.R. No. 129616, April 17, 2002,
the Supreme Court ordered petitioner Ramon
Anino to pay to the respondent backpay
differentials
pertaining
the periodassumed
from
the time he
(Anino) towrongfully
the
contested position
Manager II up to his
retirement
on November 30, 1997.
of

1. However, where there is no de


jure public officer, the officer de facto
who in good faith has had possession of
the office and has discharged the duties
pertaining thereto,
is
legally
entitled
to
the emoluments of the
office, and may, in an appropriate action,
recover the salary, fees and other
compensations attached to the office.

In Civil Liberties Union v. Executive


Secretary, even as Executive Order No. 284
was declared unconstitutional because it
allowed Cabinet members to hold multiple
offices in direct contravention of Sec. 13, Art.
VII, it was held that during their tenure in the
questioned positions, the respondents may be
considered de facto officers and as
such entitled to the emoluments of the
office/s
for actual services rendered. In
Menzon v. Petilla, 197 SCRA 251, the
Supreme Court declared that even granting
that the President, acting through the
Secretary of Local Government, possesses
no power to appoint petitioner [as Acting
Vice Governor], at the very least, the

a.

petitioner is a de facto officer entitled to


compensation. There is no denying that the
petitioner assumed the Office of ViceGovernor under color of appointment, exercised
the duties attached to said office for a long period
of time, and was acclaimed as such by the
people of Leyte. Under the principle of public
policy on which the de facto doctrine is based, and
on basic considerations of justice, it would be
iniquitous to now deny him the salary due him
for the services he actually rendered. In
Sampayan v. Daza, 213 SCRA 807, it was held
that Daza would have been a de facto officer,
and as such, he cannot be made to
reimburse funds disbursed during his term of
office because his acts were valid. See also
Flores v. Drilon..

b.
In Rodriguez v. Tan, 91 Phil 724,
the Supreme Court said that having been
duly proclaimed Senator and having
assumed office as required by law, the
defendant is entitled to the compensation,
emoluments and allowances which the
Constitution provides for the position for the
duration of his tenure.
[But note the concurring opinion of Justice
Padilla: If the defendant, directly or indirectly,
committed unlawful or tortious acts which led
to and resulted in his proclamation as
Senator- elect, he would be answerable for
damages.]

c.In Malaluan v. Comelec, G.R. No.


120193, March 6,1996, the Comelec, finding
merit in Evangelistas appeal from the regional
trial court, ordered Malaluan to vacate the
office of mayor and to pay Evangelista
attorneys fees, actual expenses,
unearned
salary
and
other emoluments, obviously
considering Malaluan a usurper, inasmuch
as
he
was
ordered proclaimed only by
the regional trial court. The Supreme Court
deemed the award of salaries and other
emoluments improper, holding that Malaluan
was not a usurper but a de facto officer, having
exercised the duties of the elective office under
color of election (having been declared
winner by the regional trial court).