MANILA, Philippines – Former social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo said she would have appreciated a clear explanation from members of the Commission on Appointments who rejected her nomination.
“I would have wanted an explanation why they decided to reject me, but there’s no explanation,” Taguiwalo said in a Rappler Talk interview on Thursday, August 14.
“Given that I served for one year, I would have expected candor and frankness from the members who voted against my appointment,” she added.
In recommending Taguiwalo’s rejection before the CA plenary, Davao Oriental 2nd District Representative Joel Almario, chair of the CA committee on labor and social welfare, said the panel “looked into all angles of her background and character” in assessing her appointment but did not explain the decision. (READ: CA rejects Taguiwalo as DSWD chief)
In a brief press conference after the announcement, Taguiwalo said she was apparently rejected because of her order that limited political influence on the selected of benefiried of social aid, and her position against the administration’s tax reform package .
Asked about her ties with the Left and allegations that Department of Social Welfare and Development resources were being used to for the New People’s Army (NPA) recruitment, Taguiwalo told Rappler that she should have been given due process to refute the allegation.
“They never opened it. I think I deserve due process. I was a victim of Martial Law. I was tortured; I was imprisoned. If the military [have] charges against [me] during [my] time as DSWD secretary, [they should] have opened it up. But nobody asked me,” she said on Thursday.
She denied the allegations, and reiterated that she only served the people during her stint at the DSWD.
“I never gave anything to the NPA. I know the demarcation line between the people who have to be served [given] our relationship with the rebels – whether this is the NPA or the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) or the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front). I’m sad that was not even heard during the committee hearing,” she said.
A nominee of the Left to the Duterte Cabinet, Taguiwalo was an activist in her youth and a member of the underground movement. She was detained and tortured during the regime of the late president Ferdinand Marcos.
She said that her links with the Left “have never been a secret” and that it never affected her capacity to serve.
“Is being categorized as Left a deterrent to good public service? I dont think so,” she stressed.
“I’ve used the resources of this office and department for the people,” she added. – Rappler.com