Petitioner De Tavera filed a complaint alleging that she was duly appointed as Executive Secretary of respondent society when the past Board of Directors removed her summarily from her position without any lawful cause. Respondent averred that under the Code of By-Laws of the Society, said position is held at the pleasure of the Board of Directors thus the incumbent has to vacate because her term has expired. The court ruled in favor of respondent. Reconsideration was denied and on appeal, the case was submitted to this Court.
Whether or not petitioner was illegally removed from her position as Executive Secretary in violation of Code of By-Laws of the society.
Although the minutes of the organizational meeting show that the Chairman mentioned the need of appointing a “permanent” Executive Secretary, such statement alone cannot characterize the appointment of petitioner without a contract of employment definitely fixing her term because of the specific provision of Section 7.02 of the Code of By-Laws that: “The Executive Secretary, the Auditor, and all other officers and employees of the Society shall hold office at the pleasure of the Board of Directors, unless their term of employment shall have been fixed in their contract of employment.” Besides the word permanent” could have been used to distinguish the appointment from acting capacity”.
The absence of a fixed term in the letter addressed to petitioner informing her of her appointment as Executive Secretary is very significant. This could have no other implication than that petitioner held an appointment at the pleasure of the appointing power.
An appointment held at the pleasure of the appointing power is in essence temporary in nature. It is co-extensive with the desire of the Board of Directors. Hence, when the Board opts to replace the incumbent, technically there is no removal but only an expiration of term and in an expiration of term, there is no need of prior notice, due hearing or sufficient grounds before the incumbent can be separated from office. The protection afforded by Section 7.04 of the Code of By-Laws on Removal of Officers and Employees, therefore, cannot be claimed by petitioner.