Which Presidential appointments require CA confirmation?

Photo courtesy of comappt.gov.ph
Photo courtesy of comappt.gov.ph

Four groups of officers whom the President shall appoint

There are four groups of officers whom the President shall appoint.

These are the following:

First, the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him (President) in this (1987) Constitution;

Second, all other officers of the Government whose appointments are not otherwise provided for by law;

Third, those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint; and,

Fourth, officers lower in rank whose appointments the Congress may by law vest in the President alone.

Who are the “other officers whose appointments are vested in him (President) in this (1987) Constitution” referred to in the first group?

Among the first group are the “other officers whose appointments are vested in him (President) in this (1987) Constitution.”

These officers include the Chairmen and Members of the Constitutional Commissions (such as the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit) and the Regular Members of the Judicial and Bar Council.

These officers used to include the sectoral (party-list) representatives to the House of Representatives since our Constitution had given the President the power to fill up by appointment the seats reserved for them until a law is passed.

Only the appointments of the officers belonging to the first group require the confirmation (consent) of the Commission on Appointments (CA)

Our Constitution and several Supreme Court decisions are clear in that only the appointments of the officers belonging to the first group require CA confirmation (consent).

Stages in the appointments of the officers belonging to the first group

The appointments of these officers are initiated by a nomination. If the CA confirms (consents), the President then appoints.

Of course, the nominees have to accept their appointments to complete the process.

In other words, the appointments of these officers go through the following stages: (a) nomination by the President; (b) confirmation (consent) by the CA; (c) appointment by the President; and, (d) acceptance of the appointment by the nominee.

When is there acceptance by the nominee?

There is acceptance by the nominee when he takes the oath of office and assumes the duties of that office.

Appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups require no CA confirmation (consent)

In stark contrast, the appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups, such as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, the Chairman and Members of the Commission on Human Rights, and the Chairman and Members of the National Labor Relations Commission, require no CA confirmation (consent).

This holds true even if they may be higher in rank compared to some officers belonging to the first group.

For instance, the appointment of the Central Bank (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) Governor requires no CA confirmation (consent) even if he is higher in rank compared to that of a colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or a consul in the Consular Service.

Does the President have the prerogative to voluntarily submit the appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups to the CA for confirmation?

The President has no prerogative to voluntarily submit the appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups to the CA for confirmation.

Neither does the CA have the prerogative to accept and subject the appointments of these officers for confirmation upon the President’s voluntary submission.

Why?

Because, as the Supreme Court had said in one case, “neither the Executive nor the Legislative (Commission on Appointments) can create power where the Constitution confers none.”

May Congress by law require CA confirmation on the appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups?

Congress may not by law require CA confirmation on the appointments of the officers belonging to the second, third, and fourth groups.

If such law is passed, it will be struck down for being unconstitutional to the extent of such requirement, because, as the Supreme Court had essentially said in another case, it will amend the Constitution by legislation, which is evidently not allowed.

[References: Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, Ulpiano P. Sarmiento III and Juanito G. Arcilla vs. Salvador Mison, et. al. (G.R. No. 79974, December 17, 1987), Mary Concepcion Bautista vs. Senator Jovito R. Salonga, et. al. (G.R. No. 86439, April 13, 1989), Peter John D. Calderon vs. Bartolome Carale, et. al. (G.R. No. 91636, April 23, 1992), Article IX of the 1987 Constitution, Teresita Quintos-Deles, et. al. vs. The Commission on Constitutional Commissions, et. al. (G.R. No. 83216, September 4, 1989), Paragraph 2, Section 5, Article VI, in relation to Section 7, Article XVIII, of the 1987 Constitution, Section 8, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, http://comappt.gov.ph/, and CA Primer]

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Author: Pinggoy Lopez

Inspiring others is my greatest passion

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