Sunday, January 29, 2012

Constitutional Ban on "Midnight Appointments"

The 1987 Constitution expressly commands the President:
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.
In January, 2010, Constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas opined that anyone accepting an unconstitutional appointment would be an accomplice in the act and be liable for impeachment, as indeed  Renato Corona has found himself to be, impeached and presently on trial in the Senate, after PGMA appointed him Chief Justice just two days before the 2010 May elections.

Bernas' point is crystal clear: Renato Corona in this case has committed a culpable violation of the Constitution by accepting a clearly unconstitutional appointment from President Gloria Arroyo right smack in the middle of the period during which a Constitutional ban exists on such "midnight appointments."

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