Socorro Almendras Gillera
CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - December 5, 2014 - 12:00am

Socorro Almendras Gillera of Danao City, Cebu was extended an ad interim appointment on December 26, 1961 as Member of the Board of Pharmaceutical Examiners by then President Carlos Polistico Garcia. Socorro's appointment was for a fixed term of three years to fill the position vacated by Board Examiner Dr. Federico Cruz which is due to expire on December 28, 1961.

On November 14, 1961 a presidential election was held, Pres. Garcia sought for a reelection but lost to Diosdado Macapagal, ending the former term as president on December 30, 1961, which he held the position from March 23, 1957 when he succeeded President Ramon Magsaysay who died in a plane crash in Mt. Manunggal, Balamban, Cebu.

Socorro accepted the appointment and took her oath of office on December 28, 1961 (this was two days before Garcia left the Presidency) assumed and discharged her functions as board examiner. Socorro prepared for questions on the subject assigned to her for the pharmaceutical board examination given on January 2, 3, 4, and 7 in 1962.

A day after President Macapagal assumed the presidency, Socorro was sent a communication from the Executive Secretary informing her of the withdrawal or recall of her appointment by then President Garcia. On January 11, 1962 President Macapagal designated Gillera as acting member of the Board of Pharmaceutical Examiners effective January 2, 1962 to continue only until after the results of the examinations.

The board examinations results were released on June 14, 1962. An examination was also given on June 1962 with Gillera as member of the board. However on December 29, 1962, Corazon C. Fernandez was appointed to the position vacated by Dr. Federico Cruz (it was the same position filled by Socorro Gillera).

Socorro went to the Supreme Court questioning the appointment of another person already filled by her. The issue to be resolved by the Court was to determine whether the ad interim appointment of Socorro is covered by Administrative Order No. 2, which declared as invalid the so-called midnight appointments by the outgoing president.

The Supreme Court said the case of Socorro Almendras Gillera was not the same as those appointments declared as invalid. In fact the new president recognized the need for the immediate filling of the position of Member of the Board of Pharmaceutical Examiners, in view of the examinations given on January of 1962. The Supreme Court also added that there is no allegation that Socorro is not qualified to the office of which she was appointed.

The Supreme Court en banc on January 31, 1964 said the appointment of Socorro A. Gillera was duly confirmed by the Commission on Appointments, was declared valid and she is entitled to the position as Member of the Board of Pharmaceutical Examiners. Socorro's legal counsel was Arturo M. Tolentino, who became senator and vice president.

Socorros' daughter, Elisea G. Gozun, served as Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, she was also a recipient of the United Nations Environment Program Champion of the Earth in 2007.  She was appointed as Presidential Assistant on Climate Change.

Members of the Almendras Clan who held government positions, among many others, were Senator Alejandro Almendras, Josefino Almendras, Governor Cecilia, Mayor Paulo Almendras, Congressman Jovenal Almendras, Vice Govenor Agnes Almendras Magpale, and Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.



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