De La Llana v Alba; GR No. L-57883; 12 Mar 1982; 112 SCRA 294

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Petitioners assailed the validity of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (Judiciary Act) in mandating that justices and judges of inferior courts from the Court of Appeals to municipal circuit courts, except the occupants of the Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, unless appointed to the inferior courts established by such Act, would be considered separated from the judiciary.

Whether or not the abolition of the existing inferior courts collides with the security of tenure enjoyed by incumber justices and judges under Article X, Section 7 of the Constitution.

NO. Removal is, of course, to be distinguished from termination by virtue of the abolition of the office. There can be no tenure to a non-existent office. After the abolition, there is in law no occupant. In case of removal, there is an office with an occupant who would thereby lose his position. It is in that sense that the standpoint of strict law, the question of any impairment of security of tenure does not arise.

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