Political Law

Ruben Villaluz vs Calixto Zaldivar

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G.R. No. L-22754 – 15 SCRA 710 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – The Executive Department – Powers of the President – Control Power – Removal Power – Appointees

Ruben Villaluz was appointed as the Administrator of the Motor Vehicles Office in 1958. In 1960, Congressman Joaquin Roces alleged that Villaluz was an ineffective leader and had caused losses to the government. He indorsed the removal of Villaluz. Consequently, Executive Secretary Calixto Zaldivar suspended Villaluz and ordered a committee to investigate the matter. After investigation, it was recommended that Villaluz be removed. The president then issued an Administrative Order removing Villaluz from his post. Villaluz averred that the president has no jurisdiction to remove him.

ISSUE: Whether or not Villaluz may be removed by the President.

HELD: Yes. The president has jurisdiction and not the Civil Service. The President of the Philippines has jurisdiction to investigate and remove him since he is a presidential appointee who belongs to the non-competitive or unclassified service under Sec 5 of Republic Act No.¬†2260; being a presidential appointee, Villaluz belongs to the non-competitive or unclassified service of the government and as such he can only be investigated and removed from office after due hearing by the President of the Philippines under the principle that “the power to remove is inherent in the power to appoint”.

There is some point in the argument that the power of control of the President may extend to the power to investigate, suspend or remove officers and employees who belong to the executive department if they are presidential appointees or do not belong to the classified service for such can be justified under the principle that the power to remove is inherent in the power to appoint but not with regard to those officers or employees who belong to the classified service for as to them that inherent power cannot be exercised. This is in line with the provision of our Constitution which says that “the Congress may by law vest the appointment of the inferior officers, in the President alone, in the courts, or in heads of department”.

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