Civil Liberties Union VS. Executive Secretary
Petitioners: Ignacio P. Lacsina, Luis R. Mauricio, Antonio R. Quintos and Juan T. David for petitioners in 83896 and Juan T. David for petitioners in 83815. Both petitions were consolidated and are being resolved jointly as both seek a declaration of the unconstitutionality of Executive Order No. 284 issued by President Corazon C. Aquino on July 25, 1987.
Executive Order No. 284, according to the petitioners allows members of the Cabinet, their undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to hold other than government offices or positions in addition to their primary positions. The pertinent provisions of EO 284 is as follows:
Section 1: A cabinet member, undersecretary or assistant secretary or other appointive officials of the Executive Department may in addition to his primary position, hold not more than two positions in the government and government corporations and receive the corresponding compensation therefor.
Section 2: If they hold more positions more than what is required in section 1, they must relinquish the excess position in favor of the subordinate official who is next in rank, but in no case shall any official hold more than two positions other than his primary position.
Section 3: AT least 1/3 of the members of the boards of such corporation should either be a secretary, or undersecretary, or assistant secretary.
The petitioners are challenging EO 284’s constitutionality because it adds exceptions to Section 13 of Article VII other than those provided in the constitution. According to the petitioners, the only exceptions against holding any other office or employment in government are those provided in the Constitution namely: 1. The Vice President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet under Section 3 par.2 of Article VII. 2. The secretary of justice is an ex-officio member of the Judicial and Bar Council by virtue of Sec. 8 of article VIII.
Whether or not Executive Order No. 284 is constitutional.
No. It is unconstitutional. Petition granted. Executive Order No. 284 was declared null and void.
In the light of the construction given to Section 13 of Article VII, Executive Order No. 284 is unconstitutional. By restricting the number of positions that Cabinet members, undersecretaries or assistant secretaries may hold in addition their primary position to not more that two positions in the government and government corporations, EO 284 actually allows them to hold multiple offices or employment in direct contravention of the express mandate of Sec. 13 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution prohibiting them from doing so, unless otherwise provided in the 1987 Constitution itself.
The phrase “unless otherwise provided in this constitution” must be given a literal interpretation to refer only to those particular instances cited in the constitution itself: Sec. 3 Art VII and Sec. 8 Art. VIII.