Arroyo's father opposed midnight appointments of Garcia

by Carmela Fonbuena,

Posted at Jan 15 2010 09:18 PM | Updated as of Mar 30 2010 04:56 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Arroyo’s father, the late former President Diosdado Macapagal, strongly opposed midnight appointments of his predecessor, the camp of presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino reminded the Palace on Friday.

Arroyo appointees in key positions after June 2010

Here is a list of appointments made by President Arroyo that will spill over to the next administration. These posts have fixed terms so the appointees are secured of their tenure. The next president will not be able to replace them during that tenure.

“Si Presidente Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [ay] nagbabalak na hindi sumunod sa ginawa ng kanyang sariling ama na si Dating Pangulong Diosdado Macapagal nang baliwalain nito ang pagtalaga ni Dating Pangulong Carlos P. Garcia ng gobernador Bangko Sentral dahil nilabag nito ang batas ukol sa midnight appointments, na nakapaloob sa ating Saligang Batas,” Aquino said on Friday.

President Arroyo allegedly pushed administration ally Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor into calling on the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to begin the process of nominating the successor of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Aquino joined critics in saying that President Arroyo cannot appoint Puno’s successor. He retires on May 17, 2010, a week after Election Day, which is well within the 2-month ban on midnight appointments.

350 appointments cancelled

When he became president in 1961, the late Diosdado Macapagal issued Administrative Order No. 2 cancelling up to 350 appointments issued by his predecessor Carlos P. Garcia a day before he [Macapagal] assumed office on Dec. 30, 1961.

One of Garcia’s appointments, Dominador Aytona, challenged the administrative order before the Supreme Court. He wanted the court to uphold his appointment as Central Bank governor and cancel Macapagal’s appointee Andres Castillo.

But Aytona failed to argue his case. The Supreme Court (SC) upheld Macapagal’s administrative order.

“It is common sense to believe that after the proclamation of the election of President Macapagal, his (Garcia) was no more than a 'care-taker' administration. He was duty bound to prepare for the orderly transfer of authority the incoming President, and he should not do acts which he ought to know, would embarrass or obstruct the policies of his successor,” said the Supreme Court decision upholding Macapagal’s administrative order.

“It was not for him to use powers as incumbent President to continue the political warfare that had ended or to avail himself of presidential prerogatives to serve partisan purposes,” the SC added.

Her father’s arguments

President Arroyo’s father made strong arguments against the midnight appointments of Garcia.

The reasons behind President Diosdado Macapagal's administrative order, according to the SC decision, were:

(1)   the outgoing President should have refrained from filling vacancies to give the new President an opportunity to consider names in the light of his new policies, which were approved by the electorate in the last elections;

(2)   these scandalously hurried appointments in mass do not fall within the intent and spirit of the constitutional provision authorizing the issuance of ad interim appointments;

(3)   the appointments were irregular, immoral and unjust, because they were issued only upon the condition that the appointee would immediately qualify obviously to prevent a recall or revocation by the incoming President, with the result that those deserving of promotion or appointment who preferred to be named by the new President declined and were by-passed; and,

(4)   the abnormal conditions surrounding the appointment and qualifications evinced a desire on the part of the outgoing President merely to subvert the policies of the incoming administration.

The 1987 Constitution categorically provides for the ban on midnight appointments. 

Article VII, Section 15 reads: “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.”


Link to SC decision on Aytona vs Castillo: