MANILA, Philippines – Secretaries Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Joseph Emilio “Jun” Abaya breezed through the Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, September 19, allowing them to begin working in their respective departments.
Roxas replaces the late Jesse Robredo as Interior and Local Government Secretary. Abaya, an outgoing congressman of Cavite, replaces Roxas as Secretary of Transportation and Communications.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago earlier withdrew her objection to the appointment of Roxas.
“My high IQ dictates that I should reconsider and withdraw my motion,” she said.
Meeting in plenary with the other members of the CA on Wednesday, Santiago initially registered her objection to Roxas’ appointment but withdrew it upon the appeal of Senate Majority Floor leader Vicente Sotto III.
Santiago earlier threatened to block Roxas’ appointment following the latter’s absence in a Senate hearing that the senator had called to investigate resigned Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno.
The CA confirmation of Roxas’ and Abaya’s appointment was a breeze. Their colleagues in the Cabinet such as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje have not been as lucky; the CA has not confirmed their appointments.
Change of heart
When Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asked if there were any objections to Roxas’ appointment, Santiago raised her hand and stood up to approach the podium. She said she was “insulted” by Roxas’ failure to attend her probe on Puno and as “collateral damage” to the sabotage done to her by the Palace by preventing the invited Cabinet members to ttend, she would veto Roxas’ appointment.
Sotto then asked for a suspension of the hearing at which point he approached Santiago to appeal her decision. The session was resumed after less than a minute. Santiago took the stand again this time to withdraw her objection.
After the plenary session, Santiago told media that she is good friends with Roxas and believed in his qualifications. She explained that she planned to stall his appointment to “shake up” Malacañang.
She also said that she reconsidered her decision because of the clamor to appoint Roxas.
“I could sense, because they are all my friends, the members of both the Senate and the House, wanted me to reconsider. I could sense it was not a popular move although they knew I was doing it out of principle,” she said.
She also emphasized that while she agreed to appoint Roxas, the other Cabinet secretaries should not expect the same treatment from her when it comes to their appointments. – Rappler.com