MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed on Wednesday, March 15, the last 4 Cabinet members needing confirmation by the powerful body.
Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano failed to get the nod of the CA on the last day of session before Congress goes on break.
Lopez is facing heightened scrutiny following the filing of at least 20 oppositions against her, mostly over her closure and suspension of mining operations.
Ubial is facing opposition for her stand on condom distribution. Senate Majority Leader and CA member Vicente Sotto III earlier warned that he would block her confirmation if she pushes through with her condom distribution program in schools.
As for Taguiwalo and Mariano, there had been calls for the two left-leaning secretaries to resign after the peace talks between the government and communist rebels earlier collapsed. Both parties, however, said the negotiations are set to resume. Whether this would create a positive development for their confirmation remains to be seen in May when Congress resumes session.
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) deplored the bypassing of Taguiwalo and Mariano, calling it a sign of the “rottenness of the system of bureaucrat capitalism.”
“Congressional posts are being used to uphold and defend ruling class interests against forces pushing for reforms in social services, land reform, and the environment. It would be a monumental irony if a government that claims to be led by a ‘leftist’ would end up booting out the leftists from the administration,” Bayan said in a statement.
No politics involved, reappointment
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, CA chairman, denied there is politics involved in the bypassing of the secretaries, saying the issue lies with scheduling.
Of the 4, only Lopez has so far faced the appointments body.
“There are different reasons, like delay in the schedule… or the nominees completed the records on different dates so iba-iba (it varies),” Pimentel said in an interview.
Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte would reappoint the 4 Cabinet members.
“The President’s trust and confidence in the Cabinet secretaries bypassed remain undiminished,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We expect that they will be reappointed to continue serving their posts,” he added.
The CA has confirmed the following appointments:
- Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
- Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III
- Communications Secretary Martin Andanar
- Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
- Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña
- Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno
- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
- Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
- Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia
- Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima
- Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno
- Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo
- Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade
- Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar
- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
- Education Secretary Leonor Briones
- Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
- Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol
The body has only rejected one appointment thus far: former foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, for lying under oath about his US citizenship. (READ: Confirmation limbo: Long but futile process?) – Rappler.com