Court asked to lift order vs Armm officials appointment-A A +A
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
THE Supreme Court (SC) was asked to lift an order that temporarily disallowed President Benigno Aquino III from appointing officers-in-charge in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
Under the temporary restraining order (TRO), all Armm's incumbent elected officials are deemed to remain in holdover capacity in case the Court fails to decide on the merit of the consolidated petitions filed against Republic Act 10153, which has synchronized Armm polls with the 2013 national and local elections.
This was opposed by government lawyers led by Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, who said the TRO goes against a constitutional provision prohibiting incumbent elective officials from occupying their offices in a holdover capacity.
The SC also supposedly ignored the presumptive constitutionality of the power of the President to appoint officials to vacant elective offices, Cadiz added in a 35-page appeal submitted on Tuesday.
Terms of elected officials in the Armm are set to end on September 30.
The TRO runs counter to the SC’s very own ruling in the case of Osmena vs Comelec, where it ruled that holdover by local officials beyond their fixed constitutional terms is illegal and any law authorizing such is unconstitutional, government lawyers said.
"By providing for the holdover of Armm officials beyond September 30, this Honorable Court not only discards its own doctrine in Osmeña; it also undermines the residual power of the President to appoint officials to vacant elective positions when there is no law providing for the manner of replacement in case of a vacancy," he said.
Without a law providing the filling up of vacancies of Armm elective offices resulting from the postponement of the August 8, 2011 Armm elections, the President is authorized to fill up said vacancies through appointment, the OSG said.
“Given this jurisprudential and factual backdrop, where this Honorable Court strikes down a presumptively constitutional mode of filling up vacancies in elective offices and replaces it with an unconstitutional one, and in so doing causes the reversal of two doctrines laid down in jurisprudence, the principle of stare decisis (judicial precedence) seems to have been simply thrown out of the window,” said Cadiz.
During the High Court's regular en banc session on Tuesday, it ordered petitioners House Minority Leader and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman and Datu Michael Kida of the Maguindanao Federation of Autonomous Irrigators Association, Basari Mapupuno and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal to provide comments within five days of the OSG's motion.
Meanwhile, tension briefly gripped the premises of the SC on Tuesday after some 200 Muslim belonging to the umbrella group All Moro Alliance for Reforms (Amar) held a protest to express opposition to the TRO.
The group burned pictures of the eight SC justices who voted in favor of the TRO and later was involved in a brief tussle with policemen and security personnel.
Dr. Darwin Rasul III, spokesperson of Amar, told reporters that the group fears the prevailing TRO will create a vacuum in Armm since the 1987 charter does not allow for the incumbent Armm officials, whose term will end on September 30, to retain their positions.
“So if the SC will continue to prevent the government to appoint an OIC and the Constitution will not allow the incumbent officials to rule after September 30, who will now govern the people of the Armm?" Rasul asked. (JCV/Sunnex)