Political Law

Sandoval Notes – Political Law Part III Executive Department – Power of Appointment

  1. To what types of appointments is Section 15, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution (prohibiting the President from making appointments two months before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term) directed against?

 

Held: Section 15, Article VII is directed against two types of appointments: (1) those made for buying votes and (2) those made for partisan considerations. The first refers to those appointments made within two months preceding the Presidential election and are similar to those which are declared election offenses in the Omnibus Election Code; while the second consists of the so-called “midnight” appointments. The SC in In Re: Hon. Mateo A. Valenzuela and Hon. Placido B. Vallarta, (298 SCRA 408, Nov. 9, 1998, En Banc [Narvasa C.J.]) clarified this when it held:

 

“Section 15, Article VII has a broader scope than the Aytona ruling. It may not unreasonably be deemed to contemplate not only “midnight” appointments – those made obviously for partisan reasons as shown by their number and the time of their making – but also appointments presumed made for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the Presidential election.”

 

  1. Discuss the nature of an ad-interim appointment. Is it temporary and, therefore, can be can be withdrawn or revoked by the President at her pleasure?

 

Held: An ad interim appointment is a permanent appointment because it takes effect immediately and can no longer be withdrawn by the President once the appointee has qualified into office. The fact that it is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not alter its permanent character. The Constitution itself makes an ad interim appointment permanent in character by making it effective until disapproved by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of congress. The second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution provides as follows:

 

“The President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, whether voluntary or compulsory, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.”

 

Thus, the ad interim appointment remains effective until such disapproval or next adjournment, signifying that it can no longer be withdrawn or revoked by the President. The fear that the President can withdraw or revoke at any time and for any reason an ad interim appointment is utterly without basis.

 

More than half a century ago, this Court had already ruled that an ad interim appointment is permanent in character. In Summers v. Ozaeta (81 Phil. 754 [1948]), decided on October 25, 1948, we held that:

 

“x x x an ad interim appointment is one made in pursuance of paragraph (4), Section 10, Article VII of the Constitution, which provides that the ‘President shall have the power to make appointments during the recess of the Congress, but such appointments shall be effective only until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.’ It is an appointment permanent in nature, and the circumstance that it is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments does not alter its permanent character. An ad interim appointment is disapproved certainly for a reason other than that its provisional period has expired. Said appointment is of course distinguishable from an ‘acting’ appointment which is merely temporary, good until another permanent appointment is issued.”

 

The Constitution imposes no condition on the effectivity of an ad interim appointment, and thus an ad interim appointment takes effect immediately. The appointee can at once assume office and exercise, as a de jure officer, all the powers pertaining to the office. In Pacete v. Secretary of the Commission on Appointments (40 SCRA 58 [1971]), this Court elaborated on the nature of an ad interim appointment as follows:

 

“A distinction is thus made between the exercise of such presidential prerogative requiring confirmation by the Commission on Appointments when Congress is in session and when it is in recess. In the former, the President nominates, and only upon the consent of the Commission on Appointments may the person thus named assume office. It is not so with reference to ad interim appointments. It takes effect at once. The individual chosen may thus qualify and perform his function without loss of time. His title to such office is complete. In the language of the Constitution, the appointment is effective ‘until disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or until the next adjournment of the Congress.’”

 

Petitioner cites Black’s Law Dictionary which defines the term “ad interim” to mean “in the meantime” or “for the time being.” Hence, petitioner argues that an ad interim appointment is undoubtedly temporary in character. This argument is not new and was answered by this Court in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila v. Intermediate Appellate Court (140 SCRA 22 [1985]), where we explained that:

 

“x x x From the arguments, it is easy to see why the petitioner should experience difficulty in understanding the situation. Private respondent had been extended several ‘ad interim’ appointments which petitioner mistakenly understands as appointments temporary in nature. Perhaps, it is the literal translation of the word ‘ad interim’ which creates such belief. The term is defined by Black to mean ‘in the meantime’ or ‘for the time being’. Thus, an officer ad interim is one appointed to fill a vacancy, or to discharge the duties of the office during the absence or temporary incapacity of its regular incumbent (Black’s Law Dictionary, Revised Fourth Edition, 1978). But such is not the meaning nor the use intended in the context of Philippine law. In referring to Dr. Esteban’s appointments, the term is not descriptive of the nature of the appointments given to him. Rather, it is used to denote the manner in which said appointments were made, that is, done by the President of the Pamantasan in the meantime, while the Board of Regents, which is originally vested by the University Charter with the power of appointment, is unable to act. X x x.”

 

Thus, the term “ad interim appointment”, as used in letters of appointment signed by the President, means a permanent appointment made by the President in the meantime that Congress is in recess. It does not mean a temporary appointment that can be withdrawn or revoked at any time. The term, although not found in the text of the Constitution, has acquired a definite legal meaning under Philippine jurisprudence. The Court had again occasion to explain the nature of an ad interim appointment in the more recent case of Marohombsar v. Court of Appeals (326 SCRA 62 [2000]), where the Court stated:

 

“We have already mentioned that an ad interim appointment is not descriptive of the nature of the appointment, that is, it is not indicative of whether the appointment is temporary or in an acting capacity, rather it denotes the manner in which the appointment was made. In the instant case, the appointment extended to private respondent by then MSU President Alonto, Jr. was issued without condition nor limitation as to tenure. The permanent status of private respondent’s appointment as Executive Assistant II was recognized and attested to by the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. 12. Petitioner’s submission that private respondent’s ad interim appointment is synonymous with a temporary appointment which could be validly terminated at any time is clearly untenable. Ad interim appointments are permanent appointment but their terms are only until the Board disapproves them.”

 

An ad interim appointee who has qualified and assumed office becomes at that moment a government employee and therefore part of the civil service. He enjoys the constitutional protection that “[n]o officer or employee in the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law.” (Section 2[3], Article IX-B of the Constitution) Thus, an ad interim appointment becomes complete and irrevocable once the appointee has qualified into office. The withdrawal or revocation of an ad interim appointment is possible only if it is communicated to the appointee before the moment he qualifies, and any withdrawal or revocation thereafter is tantamount to removal from office (See concurring opinion of Justice Cesar Bengzon in Erana v. Vergel de Dios, 85 Phil. 17 [1949]). Once an appointee has qualified, he acquires a legal right to the office which is protected not only by statute but also by the Constitution. He can only be removed for cause, after notice and hearing, consistent with the requirements of due process.

 

An ad interim appointment can be terminated for two causes specified in the Constitution. The first cause is the disapproval of his ad interim appointment by the Commission on Appointments. The second cause is the adjournment of Congress without the Commission on Appointments acting on his appointment. These two causes are resolutory conditions expressly imposed by the Constitution on all ad interim appointments. These resolutory conditions constitute, in effect, a Sword of Damocles over the heads of ad interim appointees. No one, however, can complain because it is the Constitution itself that places the Sword of Damocles over the heads of the ad interim appointees.

 

While an ad interim appointment is permanent and irrevocable except as provided by law, an appointment or designation in a temporary or acting capacity can be withdrawn or revoked at the pleasure of the appointing power (Binamira v. Garrucho, 188 SCRA 154 [1990]; Santiago v. Commission on Audit, 199 SCRA 125 [1991]; Sevilla v. Court of Appeals, 209 SCRA 637 [1992]). A temporary or acting appointee does not enjoy any security of tenure, no matter how briefly. This is the kind of appointment that the Constitution prohibits the President from making to the three independent constitutional commissions, including the COMELEC. Thus, in Brillantes v. Yorac (192 SCRA 358 [1990]), this Court struck down as unconstitutional the designation by then President Corazon Aquino of Associate Commissioner Haydee Yorac as Acting Chairperson of the COMELEC. This Court ruled that:

 

“A designation as Acting Chairman is by its very terms essentially temporary and therefore revocable at will. No cause need be established to justify its revocation. Assuming its validity, the designation of the respondent as Acting Chairman of the Commission on Elections may be withdrawn by the President of the Philippines at any time and for whatever reason she sees fit. It is doubtful if the respondent, having accepted such designation, will not be estopped from challenging its withdrawal.

 

The Constitution provides for many safeguards to the independence of the Commission on Elections, foremost among which is the security of tenure of its members. That guarantee is not available to the respondent as Acting Chairman of the Commission on Elections by designation of the President of the Philippines.”

 

Earlier, in Nacionalista Party v. Bautista (85 Phil. 101 [1949]), a case decided under the 1935 Constitution, which did not have a provision prohibiting temporary or acting appointments to the COMELEC, this Court nevertheless declared unconstitutional the designation of the Solicitor General as acting member of the COMELEC. This Court ruled that the designation of an acting Commissioner would undermine the independence of the COMELEC and hence violate the Constitution. We declared then: “It would be more in keeping with the intent, purpose and aim of the framers of the Constitution to appoint a permanent Commissioner than to designate one to act temporarily.”

 

In the instant case, the President did in fact appoint permanent Commissioners to fill the vacancies in the COMELEC, subject only to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. Benipayo, Borra and Tuason were extended permanent appointments during the recess of Congress. They were not appointed or designated in a temporary or acting capacity, unlike Commissioner Haydee Yorac in Brillantes v. Yorac and Solicitor General Felix Bautista in Nacionalista Party v. Bautista. The ad interim appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are expressly allowed by the Constitution which authorizes the President, during the recess of Congress, to make appointments that take effect immediately.

 

While the Constitution mandates that the COMELEC “shall be independent,” this provision should be harmonized with the President’s power to extend ad interim appointments. To hold that the independence of the COMELEC requires the Commission on Appointments to first confirm ad interim appointees before the appointees can assume office will negate the President’s power to make ad interim appointments. This is contrary to the rule on statutory construction to give meaning and effect to every provision of the law. It will also run counter to the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution.

 

The original draft of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution – on the nomination of officers subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments – did not provide for ad interim appointments. The original intention of the framers of the Constitution was to do away with ad interim appointments because the plan was for Congress to remain in session throughout the year except for a brief 30-day compulsory recess. However, because of the need to avoid disruptions in essential government services, the framers of the Constitution thought it wise to reinstate the provisions of the 1935 Constitution on ad interim appointments. X x x.

 

X x x

 

Clearly, the reinstatement in the present Constitution of the ad interim appointing power of the President was for the purpose of avoiding interruptions in vital government services that otherwise would result from prolonged vacancies in government offices, including the three constitutional commissions. In his concurring opinion in Guevarra v. Inocentes (16 SCRA 379 [1966]), decided under the 1935 Constitution, Justice Roberto Concepcion, Jr. explained the rationale behind ad interim appointments in this manner:

 

“Now, why is the lifetime of ad interim appointments so limited? Because, if they expired before the session of Congress, the evil sought to be avoided – interruption in the discharge of essential functions – may take place. Because the same evil would result if the appointments ceased to be effective during the session of Congress and before its adjournment. Upon the other hand, once Congress has adjourned, the evil aforementioned may easily be conjured by the issuance of other ad interim appointments or reappointments.”

 

Indeed, the timely application of the last sentence of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution barely avoided the interruption of essential government services in the May 2001 national elections. Following the decision of this Court in Gaminde v. Commission on Appointments (347 SCRA 655 [2000]), promulgated on December 13, 2000, the terms of office of constitutional officers first appointed under the Constitution would have to be counted starting February 2, 1987, the date of ratification of the Constitution, regardless of the date of their actual appointment. By this reckoning, the terms of office of three Commissioners of the COMELEC, including the Chairman, would end on February 2, 2001 (See Section 1[2], Article IX-C of the Constitution).

 

X x x

 

During an election year, Congress normally goes on voluntary recess between February and June considering that many of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate run for re-election. In 2001, the Eleventh Congress adjourned from January 9, 2001 to June 3, 2001. Concededly, there was no more time for Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, who were originally extended ad interim appointments only on March 22, 2001, to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments before the May 14, 2001 elections.

 

If Benipayo, Borra and Tuason were not extended ad interim appointments to fill up the three vacancies in the COMELEC, there would only have been one division functioning in the COMELEC instead of two during the May 2001 elections. Considering that the Constitution requires that “all x x x election cases shall be heard and decided in division,” the remaining one division would have been swamped with election cases. Moreover, since under the Constitution motions for reconsideration “shall be decided by the Commission en banc”, the mere absence of one of the four remaining members would have prevented a quorum, a less than ideal situation considering that the Commissioners are expected to travel around the country before, during and after the elections. There was a great probability that disruptions in the conduct of the May 2001 elections could occur because of the three vacancies in the COMELEC. The successful conduct of the May 2001 national elections, right after the tumultuous EDSA II and EDSA III events, was certainly essential in safeguarding and strengthening our democracy.

 

Evidently, the exercise by the President in the instant case of her constitutional power to make ad interim appointments prevented the occurrence of the very evil sought to be avoided by the second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution. This power to make ad interim appointments is lodged in the President to be exercised by her in her sound judgment. Under the second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, the President can choose either of two modes in appointing officials who are subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments. First, while Congress is in session, the President may nominate the prospective appointee, and pending consent of the Commission on Appointments, the nominee cannot qualify and assume office. Second, during the recess of Congress, the President may extend an ad interim appointment which allows the appointee to immediately qualify and assume office.

 

Whether the President chooses to nominate the prospective appointee or extend an ad interim appointment is a matter within the prerogative of the President because the Constitution grants her that power. This Court cannot inquire into the propriety of the choice made by the President in the exercise of her constitutional power, absent grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on her part, which has not been shown in the instant case.

 

The issuance by Presidents of ad interim appointments to the COMELEC is a long-standing practice. X x x

 

The President’s power to extend ad interim appointments may indeed briefly put the appointee at the mercy of both the appointing and confirming powers. This situation, however, in only for a short period – from the time of issuance of the ad interim appointment until the Commission on Appointments gives or withholds its consent. The Constitution itself sanctions this situation, as a trade-off against the evil of disruptions in vital government services. This is also part of the check-and-balance under the separation of powers, as a trade-off against the evil of granting the President absolute and sole power to appoint. The Constitution has wisely subjected the President’s appointing power to the checking power of the legislature.

 

This situation, however, does not compromise the independence of the COMELEC as a constitutional body. The vacancies in the COMELEC are precisely staggered to insure that the majority of its members hold confirmed appointments, and no one President will appoint all the COMELEC members. X x x. The special constitutional safeguards that insure the independence of the COMELEC remain in place (See Sections, 3, 4, 5 and 6, Article IX-A of the Constitution).

 

In fine, we rule that the ad interim appointments extended by the President to Benipayo, Borra and Tuason, as COMELEC Chairman and Commissioners, respectively, do not constitute temporary or acting appointments prohibited by Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution. (Matibag v. Benipayo, 380 SCRA 49, April 2, 2002, En Banc [Carpio])

 

  1. Does the renewal of ad interim appointments violate the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1(2), Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution?

 

                Held: Petitioner also argues that assuming the first ad interim appointment and the first assumption of office of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are constitutional, the renewal of their ad interim appointments and their subsequent assumption of office to the same positions violate the prohibition on reappointment under Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution, which provides as follows:

 

“The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members for three years, without reappointment.”

 

Petitioner theorizes that once an ad interim appointee is by-passed by the Commission on Appointments, his ad interim appointment can no longer be renewed because this will violate Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution which prohibits reappointments. Petitioner asserts that this is particularly true to permanent appointees who have assumed office, which is the situation of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason if their ad interim appointments are deemed permanent in character.

 

There is no dispute that an ad interim appointee disapproved by the Commission on Appointments can no longer be extended a new appointment. The disapproval is a final decision of the Commission on Appointments in the exercise of its checking power on the appointing authority of the President. The disapproval is a decision on the merits, being a refusal by the Commission on Appointments to give its consent after deliberating on the qualifications of the appointee. Since the Constitution does not provide for any appeal from such decision, the disapproval is final and binding on the appointee as well as on the appointing power. In this instance, the President can no longer renew the appointment not because of the constitutional prohibition on appointment, but because of a final decision by the Commission on Appointments to withhold its consent to the appointment.

 

An ad interim appointment that is by-passed because of lack of time or failure of the Commission on Appointments to organize is another matter. A by-passed appointment is one that has not been finally acted upon on the merits by the Commission on Appointments at the close of the session of Congress. There is no final decision by the Commission on Appointments to give or withhold its consent to the appointment as required by the Constitution. Absent such decision, the President is free to renew the ad interim appointment of a by-passed appointee. This is recognized in Section 17 of the Rules of the Commission on Appointments x x x. Hence, under the Rules of the Commission on Appointments, a by-passed appointment can be considered again if the President renew the appointment.

 

It is well-settled in this jurisdiction that the President can renew the ad interim appointments of by-passed appointees. Justice Roberto Concepcion, Jr. lucidly explained in his concurring opinion in Guevarra v. Inocentes (Supra, note 34) why by-passed ad interim appointees could be extended new appointments, thus:

 

“In short, an ad interim appointment ceases to be effective upon disapproval by the Commission, because the incumbent can not continue holding office over the positive objection of the Commission. It ceases, also, upon “the next adjournment of the Congress”, simply because the President may then issue new appointments – not because of implied disapproval of the Commission deduced from its intention during the session of Congress, for, under the Constitution, the Commission may affect adversely the interim appointments only by action, never by omission. If the adjournment of Congress were an implied disapproval of ad interim appointments made prior thereto, then the President could no longer appoint those so by-passed by the Commission. But, the fact is that the President may reappoint them, thus clearly indicating that the reason for said termination of the ad interim appointments is not the disapproval thereof allegedly inferred from said omission of the Commission, but the circumstance that upon said adjournment of the Congress, the President is free to make ad interim appointments or reappointments.”

 

Guevarra was decided under the 1935 Constitution from where the second paragraph of Section 16, Article VII of the present Constitution on ad interim appointments was lifted verbatim. The jurisprudence under the 1935 Constitution governing ad interim appointments by the President is doubtless applicable to the present Constitution. The established practice under the present Constitution is that the President can renew the appointments of by-passed ad interim appointees. This is a continuation of the well-recognized practice under the 1935 Constitution, interrupted only by the 1973 Constitution which did not provide for a Commission on Appointments but vested sole appointing power in the President.

 

The prohibition on reappointment in Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution applies neither to disapproval nor by-passed ad interim appointments. A disapproved ad interim appointment cannot be revived by another ad interim appointment because the disapproval is final under Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, and not because a reappointment is prohibited under Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution. A by-passed ad interim appointment cannot be revived by a new ad interim appointment because there is no final disapproval under Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution, and such new appointment will not result in the appointee serving beyond the fixed term of seven years.

 

Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution provides that “[t]he Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed x x x for a term of seven years without reappointment.” There are four situations where this provision will apply. The first situation is where an ad interim appointee to the COMELEC, after confirmation by the Commission on Appointments, serves his full seven-year term. Such person cannot be reappointed to the COMELEC, whether as a member or as a chairman, because he will then be actually serving more than seven years. The second situation is where the appointee, after confirmation, serves a part of his term and then resigns before his seven-year term of office ends. Such person cannot be reappointed, whether as a member or as a chair, to a vacancy arising from retirement because a reappointment will result in the appointee also serving more than seven years. The third situation is where the appointee is confirmed to serve the unexpired term of someone who died or resigned, and the appointee completes the unexpired term. Such person cannot be reappointed, whether as a member or chair, to a vacancy arising from retirement because a reappointment will result in the appointee also serving more than seven years.

 

The fourth situation is where the appointee has previously served a term of less than seven years, and a vacancy arises from death or resignation. Even if it will not result in his serving more than seven years, a reappointment of such person to serve an unexpired term is also prohibited because his situation will be similar to those appointed under the second sentence of Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution. This provision refers to the first appointees under the Constitution whose terms of office are less than seven years, but are barred from ever being reappointed under any situation. Not one of these four situations applies to the case of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason.

 

            The framers of the Constitution made it quite clear that any person who has served any term of office as COMELEC member – whether for a full term of seven years, a truncated term of five or three years, or even an unexpired term for any length of time – can no longer be reappointed to the COMELEC. X x x

 

X x x

 

In Visarra v. Miraflor (8 SCRA 1 [1963]), Justice Angelo Bautista, in his concurring opinion, quoted Nacionalista v. De Vera (85 Phil. 126 [1949]) that a [r]eappointment is not prohibited when a Commissioner has held, office only for, say, three or six years, provided his term will not exceed nine years in all.” This was the interpretation despite the express provision in the 1935 Constitution that a COMELEC member “shall hold office for a term of nine years and may not be reappointed.”

 

To foreclose this interpretation, the phrase “without reappointment” appears twice in Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the present Constitution. The first phrase prohibits reappointment of any person previously appointed for a term of seven years. The second phrase prohibits reappointment of any person previously appointed for a term of five or three years pursuant to the first set of appointees under the Constitution. In either case, it does not matter if the person previously appointed completes his term of office for the intention is to prohibit any reappointment of any kind.

 

However, an ad interim appointment that has lapsed by inaction of the Commission on Appointments does not constitute a term of office. The period from the time the ad interim appointment is made to the time it lapses is neither a fixed term nor an unexpired term. To hold otherwise would mean that the President by his unilateral action could start and complete the running of a term of office in the COMELEC without the consent of the Commission on Appointments. This interpretation renders inutile the confirming power of the Commission on Appointments.

 

The phrase “without reappointment” applies only to one who has been appointed by the President and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, whether or not such person completes his term of office. There must be a confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of the previous appointment before the prohibition on reappointment can apply. To hold otherwise will lead to absurdities and negate the President’s power to make ad interim appointments.

 

In the great majority of cases, the Commission on Appointments usually fails to act, for lack of time, on the ad interim appointments first issued to appointees. If such ad interim appointments can no longer be renewed, the President will certainly hesitate to make ad interim appointments because most of her appointees will effectively be disapproved by mere inaction of the Commission on Appointments. This will nullify the constitutional power of the President to make ad interim appointments, a power intended to avoid disruptions in vital government services. This Court cannot subscribe to a proposition that will wreak havoc on vital government services.

 

The prohibition on reappointment is common to the three constitutional commissions. The framers of the present Constitution prohibited reappointments for two reasons. The first is to prevent a second appointment for those who have been previously appointed and confirmed even if they served for less than seven years. The second is to insure that the members of the three constitutional commissions do not serve beyond the fixed term of seven years. X x x.

 

X x x

 

Plainly, the prohibition on reappointment is intended to insure that there will be no reappointment of any kind. On the other hand, the prohibition on temporary or acting appointments is intended to prevent any circumvention of the prohibition on reappointment that may result in an appointee’s total term of office exceeding seven years. The evils sought to be avoided by the twin prohibitions are very specific – reappointment of any kind and exceeding one’s term in office beyond the maximum period of seven years.

 

Not contented with these ironclad twin prohibitions, the framers of the Constitution tightened even further the screws on those who might wish to extend their terms of office. Thus, the word “designated” was inserted to plug any loophole that might be exploited by violators of the Constitution x x x.

 

The ad interim appointments and subsequent renewals of appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason do not violate the prohibition on reappointments because there were no previous appointments that were confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. A reappointment presupposes a previous confirmed appointment. The same ad interim appointments and renewal of appointments will also not breach the seven-year term limit because all the appointments and renewals of appointments of Benipayo, Borra and Tuason are for a fixed term expiring on February 2, 2008. Any delay in their confirmation will not extend the expiry date of their terms of office. Consequently, there is no danger whatsoever that the renewal of the ad interim appointments of these three respondents will result in any of the evils intended to be exorcised by the twin prohibitions in the Constitution. The continuing renewal of the ad interim appointment of these three respondents, for so long as their terms of office expire on February 2, 2008, does not violate the prohibition on reappointments in Section 1 (2), Article IX-C of the Constitution. (Matibag v. Benipayo, 380 SCRA 49, April 2, 2002, En Banc [Carpio])

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