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[G.R. No. 139382.June 19, 2001]

SEC. OF JUSTICE CUEVAS et al. vs. ATTY. BACAL

EN BANC

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 19 2001.

G.R No. 139382 (The Secretary of Justice Serafin R. Cuevas, Executive Secretary Ronaldo B. Zamora, and Atty. Carina J. Demaisip vs. Atty. Josefina G. Bacal.)

Respondent Josefina G. Bacal moves for reconsideration of the decision of December 6, 2000 dismissing her petition for quo warranto against petitioner Carina Demaisip.Petitioners, who were required to comment on the motion, asked for an extension, which is hereby granted, and the comment, which they filed on April 20, 2001, is hereby admitted.It appears that on February 16, 2001, petitioner Demaisip retired as Chief Public Attorney, and in her place, Persida V. Rueda-Acosta was appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 19, 2001.

Respondent contends that Part III, Chap. I, Art. IV, par. 5(c) of the Integrated Reorganization Plan, as adopted by P.D. No. 1, pursuant to which it was held that appointments to the Career Executive Service (CES) should be made on the basis of rank, has been repealed by Art. VII, 16 of the Constitution and by the Administrative Code of 1987 (Book IV, Title III, Chapter 10, 46-47).The provision in question reads:

Appointment.Appointment to appropriate classes in the Career Executive Service shall be made by the President from a list of career executive eligibles recommended by the Board.Such appointments shall be made on the basis of rank; provided that appointment to the higher ranks which qualify the incumbents to assignments as undersecretary and heads of bureaus and offices and equivalent positions shall be with the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.The President may, however, in exceptional cases, appoint any person who is not a Career Executive Service eligible; provided that such appointee shall subsequently take the required Career Executive Service examination and that he shall not be promoted to a higher class until he qualifies in such examination. (emphasis added)

Respondent points out that appointments to the positions of undersecretaries, heads of bureaus and offices, and other equivalent positions are no longer required to be submitted to the Commission on Appointments for confirmation.She argues that because of the repeal of the abovequoted provision of the Integrated Reorganization Plan, appointments to the CES should now be based on position and not on rank.

The contention has no merit.Art. VII, 16 of the Constitution has modified, but not repealed, the provision of the Integrated Reorganization Plan indicated by respondent insofar as appointments of undersecretaries and heads of bureaus and offices and equivalent positions are concerned in the sense that such appointments are no longer subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.But the rest of the provision in question relative to other appointments to the CES remains effective.Consequently, as provided in paragraphs 5(c) and (e), appointments, reassignments, and transfers to the CES continue to be based on rank.

Moreover, with the retirement of petitioner Carina Demaisip, respondent's action has become moot and academic.In actions for quo warranto, the question is who between the parties is entitled to the contested position.If any of the parties ceases from office, any decision rendered for one or the other party cannot bind the successor in office (See Mendoza v. Allas, 302 SCRA 633 (1999)).In this case, petitioner Demaisip's retirement and the subsequent appointment of Rueda-Acosta in her stead have rendered this case moot and academic.

For the foregoing reasons, the Court RESOLVED to DENY with FINALITY the motion for reconsideration.

Puno, J., joined by Vitug, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., joined by Panganiban and Quisumbing, JJ., maintain their dissents.Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., take no part.

Very truly yours,

LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court

(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA

Asst. Clerk of Court


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