SC rules Agra double designation unconstitutional
MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC), in its regular Tuesday en banc session, unanimously declared as unconstitutional the designation of former acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra as concurrent Solicitor General in 2010.
In a text message, the high court's Public Information Office (PIO) said the magistrates found his concurrent positions as "unconstitutional and void for being in violation of Sec. 13, Art. VII of the 1987 Constitution.
The provision prohibits holding dual or multiple positions in government.
However, the high court ruled that "Agra was a de facto officer and, thus, his acts were valid for all purposes."
Agra was appointed by then-President Gloria Arroyo in Jan. 2010; he was appointed acting Justice Secretary by Mrs. Arroyo two months later.
The petition against Agra was filed by lawyers Dennis Funa and Melanio Elvis Balayan.
Petitioners argued that a "highly anomalous and unethical situation" arose when Agra sat on the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) as Justice Secretary to interview applicants and nominees for posts in the 15-member Supreme Court where he appears and argues as government legal counsel.