SC asked to void Bangit appointment
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo has asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the alleged “midnight appointment” of Armed Forces Chief Gen. Delfin Bangit as well as those of two other top military officials.
Marcelo, who has turned into a critic of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said Bangit’s appointment was unconstitutional and illegal since the constitutional prohibition against midnight appointments took effect on the day of his appointment, March 10.
He also questioned the appointment of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu on March 12 and of Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue as chief of the Armed Forces National Capital Region Command (NCRCom) on March 13.
The three belong to the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978 which has adopted Ms Arroyo as an honorary member.
Marcelo suspects that the appointment of Bangit and his two classmates in sensitive positions was part of a plot to manipulate the election results and set the stage for a failure of elections so Ms Arroyo can continue to govern as a holdover president beyond the end of her term on June 30.
In a petition he filed Tuesday for the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), Marcelo said the three permanent appointments were prohibited under Section 15 Article VII of the Constitution which bans appointments two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of an outgoing president’s term.
Marcelo, who is the PBA president, said the start of the two-month period covered by the ban fell on March 10.
Bangit, who served Ms Arroyo as chief of the Presidential Security Group and aide-de-camp when she was still vice president, replaced Gen. Victor Ibrado who retired on March 10.
Marcelo said the press statement from the Armed Forces stated that Bangit replaced Ibrado only after the latter’s retirement, which was midnight of March 10.
He said the AFP vice chief of staff could have served as acting chief of staff until a new one is appointed by the new president who assumes office on June 30.
He also pointed out the appointments violated the Commission on Elections’ rules that prohibited the transfer of government personnel during the election period from Jan. 10, 2010 to June 9, 2010 without prior written authority from the Comelec. Dona Z. Pazzibugan