G.R. No. 94070 – 208 SCRA 74 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – Control Power; Appointment Power; Removal Power – Ambassadors
Rosalinda Santos was an ambassadress sent to Geneva for a mission. On her trip, she bought a discounted ticket which provided that she could bring someone with her so she brought with her her adopted daughter. Some of her co-workers complained because they thought that Santos used government fund to finance her daughter’s fare. It was later found out that the cost of the said ticket is actually 50% less than the amount that was given to Santos to be used for her expenses for the trip. Nevertheless, because of her refusal to appear before the disciplinary board, she was found guilty of misconduct. Upon her appeal to the Office of the President and after review, then president Corazon Aquino issued Administrative Order No. 122 which declared Santos guilty of dishonesty. She was then removed from her post and was replaced.
ISSUE: Whether or not Santos should reinstated to her office.
HELD: No. Even though the Supreme Court found evidence which showed that Santos was not guilty of misconduct or dishonesty as in fact what she did of securing a ticket which was 50% the cost of what was allotted for her travel expense for tickets and thus was beneficial to the government (for she helped save and lessen the expenses), the SC does not have the power to reverse the recall done to Santos. She cannot be reinstated by the SC to her position for the removal power of the president is solely her prerogative. Further, the position held by Santos is primarily confidential. Her position lasts upon the pleasure of the president. When the pleasure turns into displeasure she is not actually removed from her position or office but rather her term merely expires. Also, her position involves foreign relations which is vested solely in the executive. The SC cannot inquire upon the wisdom or unwisdom of the exercise of such prerogative. Thus, the assignment to and recall from posts of ambassadors are prerogatives of the President, for her to exercise as the exigencies of the foreign service and the interests of the nation may from time to time dictate.