Palace stands pat on E.O. No. 2

MALACAÑANG on Thursday stood pat on its issuance of Executive Order No. 2 revoking “midnight appointments” made by the previous administration saying these violated the “intent and spirit of the constitutional ban on midnight appointments.”

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Eduardo De Mesa brushed aside former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s camp’s claim that E.O. No. 2 was unconstitutional because the appointments were made well before the ban took effect on March 10, 2010 or 45 days before the May 10 national elections.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday afternoon, De Mesa told reporters that the Supreme Court had, in several instances, already ruled on the issue when it nullified such appointments which took effect during the prohibition period as prescribed in the Constitution.

He explained that even though these so-called midnight appointments were made before March 10 or prior to the prohibition, the appointee was only able to assume office on the days when the ban had taken effect.

“The issue has been long settled by the SC itself when it prescribed that an appointment is a two-way process. It has to be accepted by the appointee and the appointee must take his oath (of office),” De Mesa said.

“So the SC has, in a very, very old case, already nullified appointments made during the prohibition period or which were not completed before the prohibition period,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the former President’s camp opted to “literally” interpret the provision banning midnight appointments.

“Our position is to take the spirit behind the provision which is that those appointments were made in violation of the spirit of the Constitution,” Lacierda added.

“As what Sec. De Mesa said, it is a two-way process. You have to have offer and acceptance,” Lacierda said, adding, “It is basic in administrative law, and it has already been settled several times in the Supreme Court. (PIA-Bohol)

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