No legal basis for COA chair Villar to stay-Drilon

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, February 17, 2011-Senator Franklin Drilon said Wednesday that there is no legal basis for Commission on Audit (COA) chairman Reynaldo Villar to stay because his term has already expired and it was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments that his term is only up to February 2.


Drilon recalled that a transmittal letter dated April 16, 2008 which was signed by former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to the chairman and members of the Commission on Appointments; letter signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo addressed to the bicameral body submitting the nomination of Villar dated April 15, 2008, letter signed by Ermita addressed to Villar transmitting to the latter his nomination paper dated April 16, 2008, Villar’s nomination paper signed by Arroyo dated April 15, 2008; and a certificate of confirmation/consent from the Commission on Appointments dated June 11, 2008 clearly indicates that Villar shall serve as COA chief until February 2, 2011 only.


“Villar’s appointment was until February 2, 2011,” Drilon said, adding that he was originally appointed by Arroyo as COA commissioner last February 2, 2004, and later named chairman of the agency in April 2008, replacing Guillermo Carague whose term had expired.


Drilon, a former Justice and Executive secretary, pointed out that the debates on the 1987 Constitutional Convention clearly indicate that the appointee to any constitutional body shall in no case serve in an aggregate period of more than seven years. Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution also prohibits reappointment.


“The Supreme Court in Nacionalista Party V. Vera in 1949 and in Matibag V. Benipayo in 2002, ruled that the aggregate tenure of an appointee to a constitutional body, such as the Commission on Elections and CoA, cannot exceed the full term of seven years, whether or not such person completes his term of office,” he furthered.


“Villar’s term of office as CoA chairman expired last February 2, he cannot serve beyond his term of office even if he had served as chairman for less than three years and he cannot be reappointed to the agency because of the constitutional prohibition,” Drilon said, following Villar’s claim that he would serve until 2015. (Jason de Asis)



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