Friday, March 09, 2012

Calderon vs. Carale

Facts: Sometime in March 1989, RA 6715 (Herrera-Veloso Law), amending the Labor Code (PD 442) was approved. It provides in Section 13 thereof as follows: 

“The Chairman, the Division Presiding Commissioners and other Commissioners shall all be appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. Appointments to any vacancy shall come from the nominees of the sector which nominated the predecessor.” 

Pursuant to said law (RA 6715), President Aquino appointed the Chairman and Commissioners of the NLRC representing the public, workers and employers sectors. The appointments stated that the appointees may qualify and enter upon the performance of the duties of the office. After said appointments, then Labor Secretary Franklin Drilon issued Administrative Order No. 161, series of 1989, designating the places of assignment of the newly appointed commissioners. 

Petitioner questions the constitutionality and legality of the permanent appointments extended by the President of the Philippines to the respondents Chairman and Members of the NLRC, without submitting the same to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation pursuant to RA 6715 as amended. Petitioner insists on a mandatory compliance with RA 6715 which has in its favor the presumption of validity and which he contends that the law is not an encroachment on the appointing power of the executive as provided for in the Constitution, as Congress may, by law, require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of other officers appointed by the President additional to those mentioned in the first sentence of Section 16 of Article VII of the Constitution. 

Issue: Whether or not Congress may, by law, require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of appointments extended by the president to government officers, in addition to those expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution. 

Held: No. The provisions of first paragraph Art. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution is exclusive and cannot be expanded by mere act of legislation. Even the Solicitor-General stated that the provision of that law appertaining to the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments transgresses the Constitution and is therefore, without any legal basis. 

The Supreme Court held that the provisions of RA 6715, Sec. 13 is unconstitutional because: 

1) it amends by legislation, the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution by adding thereto appointments requiring confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; and 

2) it amends by legislation the second sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution, by imposing the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments on appointments which are otherwise entrusted only with the President. 

The Court further stated that “the legislature cannot, upon passing law which violates a constitutional provision, validate it so as to prevent an attack thereon in the courts, by a declaration that it shall be so construed as not to violate the constitutional inhibition.” 

Thus, the Supreme Court said the appointment to NLRC positions do not require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, as the provision in RA 6715 is declared unconstitutional. The NLRC Chairman and Commissioners are among those whom the President may be authorized by law to appoint.

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