Press Release
February 16, 2011

As CA confirmed CoA chief for a term until February 2, 2011

There is no legal basis for Commission on Audit (CoA) chairman Reynaldo Villar to stay because his term already expired and he was expressly confirmed by the Commission on Appointments for a term until February 2, Senator Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.

A transmittal letter signed by former Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to the chairman and members of the Commission on Appointments dated April 16, 2008; 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 indicate that Villar shall serve as CoA chief until February 2, 2011 only.

Villar was originally appointed by Arroyo as CoA commissioner last February 2, 2004, and he was later named chairman of the agency in April 2008, replacing Guillermo Carague whose term had expired. His appointment was until February 2, 2011.

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, Drilon, a former Justice and Executive secretary, pointed out.

Further, 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.

As such, 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, said Drilon, following Villar's claim that he would serve until 2015.

"Villar served the CoA well. He should not tarnish his record in the agency by unlawfully clinging to his post," Drilon said.

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