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289 Civil Liberties Union v. Exec Sec.docx

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Case 289: Prohibitions and Inhibitions: Against Holding of Multiple Offices CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION vs.THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY G.R. No. 83896| February 22, 1991| FERNAN, C.J. Facts: Two (2) petitions were consolidated both seeking a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino. The pertinent provisions of the assailed Executive Order are: Sec. 1. Even if allowed by law or by
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  Case 289: Prohibitions and Inhibitions: Against Holding of Multiple Offices CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION   vs.THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY   G.R. No. 83896| February 22, 1991 | FERNAN, C.J. Facts:  Two (2) petitions were consolidated both seeking a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino. The pertinent provisions of the assailed Executive Order are: Sec. 1. Even if allowed by law or by the ordinary functions of his position, a member of the Cabinet, undersecretary or assistant secretary or other appointive officials of the Executive Department may, in addition to his primary position, hold not more than two positions in the government and government corporations and receive the corresponding compensation therefor; Provided  , that this limitation shall not apply to ad hoc bodies or committees, or to boards, councils or bodies of which the President is the Chairman. Sec. 2. If a member of the cabinet, undersecretary or assistant secretary or other appointive official of the Executive Department holds more positions than what is allowed in Section 1 hereof, they ( sic ) must relinquish the excess position in favor of the subordinate official who is next in rank, but in no case shall any official hold more than two positions other than his primary position. Sec. 3. In order to fully protect the interest of the government in government-owned or controlled corporations, at least one-third (1/3) of the members of the boards of such corporation should either be a secretary, or undersecretary, or assistant secretary. Petitioners maintain that this Executive Order which, in effect, allows members of the Cabinet, their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to hold other government offices or positions in addition to their primary positions, albeit subject to the limitation therein imposed, runs counter to Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides as follows: Sec. 13. The President, Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office. According to petitioners, by virtue of the phrase unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, the only exceptions against holding any other office or employment in  Government are those provided in the Constitution, namely: (1) The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet under Section 3, par. (2), Article VII thereof; and (2) the Secretary of Justice is an ex-officio  member of the Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of Section 8 (1), Article VIII. Petitioners further argue that the exception to the prohibition in Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB on the Civil Service Commission applies to officers and employees of the Civil Service in general and that said exceptions do not apply and cannot be extended to Section 13, Article VII which applies specifically to the President, Vice-President, Members of the Cabinet and their deputies or assistants. Issue:  Whether or not the prohibition in Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution insofar as Cabinet members, their deputies or assistants are concerned admit of the broad exceptions made for appointive officials in general under Section 7, par. (2), Article I-XB? Ruling: No.  Although Section 7, Article I-XB already contains a blanket prohibition against the holding of multiple offices or employment in the government subsuming both elective and appointive public officials, the Constitutional Commission should see it fit to formulate another provision, Sec. 13, Article VII, specifically prohibiting the President, Vice-President, members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants from holding any other office or employment during their tenure, unless otherwise provided in the Constitution itself. Evidently, from this move as well as in the different phraseologies of the constitutional provisions in question, the intent of the framers of the Constitution was to impose a stricter prohibition on the President and his official family in so far as holding other offices or employment in the government or elsewhere is concerned. With other provisions of the Constitution on the disqualifications of certain public officials or employees from holding other offices or employment, it is quite notable that the prohibition pertains to an office or employment in the government   and government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries. In striking contrast is the wording of Section 13, Article VII which provides that the prohibition imposed on the President and his official family is all-embracing and covers both public and private office or employment. While all other appointive officials in the civil service are allowed to hold other office or employment in the government during their tenure when such is allowed by law or by the primary functions of their positions, members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants may do so only when expressly authorized by the Constitution itself. In other words, Section 7, Article I-XB is meant to lay down the general rule applicable to all elective and appointive public officials and employees, while Section 13, Article VII is meant to be the exception applicable only to the President, the Vice- President, Members of the Cabinet, their deputies and assistants. This being the case, the qualifying phrase unless otherwise provided in this Constitution in Section 13, Article VII cannot possibly refer to the broad exceptions provided under Section 7, Article I-XB of the 1987 Constitution. Respondents' interpretation that Section  13 of Article VII admits of the exceptions found in Section 7, par. (2) of Article IX-B would obliterate the distinction so carefully set by the framers of the Constitution as to when the high-ranking officials of the Executive Branch from the President to Assistant Secretary, on the one hand, and the generality of civil servants from the rank immediately below Assistant Secretary downwards, on the other, may hold any other office or position in the government during their tenure. The prohibition against holding dual or multiple offices or employment under Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution must not, however, be construed as applying to posts occupied by the Executive officials specified therein without additional compensation in an ex-officio  capacity as provided by law and as required   by the primary functions of said officials' office. The reason is that these posts do no comprise any other office within the contemplation of the constitutional prohibition but are properly an imposition of additional duties and functions on said officials. To illustrate, by express provision of law, the Secretary of Transportation and Communications is the ex-officio Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Ports Authority,  29  and the Light Rail Transit Authority. This is as it should be, because the representatives so designated merely perform duties in the Board in addition to those already  performed under their original appointments . It bears repeating though that in order that such additional duties or functions may not transgress the prohibition embodied in Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, such additional duties or functions must be required by the primary functions of the official concerned, who is to perform the same in an ex-officio capacity as provided by law, without receiving any additional compensation therefor  . In the light of the construction given to Section 13, Article VII in relation to Section 7, par. (2), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution, Executive Order No. 284 is unconstitutional. Ostensibly restricting the number of positions that Cabinet members, undersecretaries or assistant secretaries may hold in addition to their primary position to not more than two (2) positions in the government and government corporations, Executive Order No. 284 actually allows them to hold multiple offices or employment in direct contravention of the express mandate of Section 13, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution prohibiting them from doing so, unless otherwise provided in the 1987 Constitution itself.
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