MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed disappointment over the decision of the Commission on Appointments (CA) to reject Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary but stressed he could not have prevented it from happening.
“The voting was secret. Pero sayang. She was really – at tsaka bright (But it’s too bad. She was really – bright too),” said Duterte on Monday night, August 21, during a dinner with media at the Malacañang Golf Club.
Duterte also called Taguiwalo, who was nominated for the post by the Left, a “worker.” (READ: Taguiwalo ‘represents all of us, all our dreams, all our aspirations’ – Recto)
Influence over CA?
To criticism that he could have used his influence in Congress to convince CA members to give their nod to Taguiwalo’s appointment, Duterte said he wanted to respect the authority of the powerful CA.
He claims he does not know who among the CA members voted for or against Taguiwalo’s confirmation.
“They voted secretly. I do not know who voted for and who was against Taguiwalo. And that is the job of Congress as part of the checks and balances in this government,” the President said.
“We can’t do anything if they reject. I do not want to attribute or impute something, motive. It’s a discretion and they voted secret,” he added. (READ: NPA links or pork barrel? Why the CA rejected Taguiwalo)
Taguiwalo had told Rappler that on the eve of her CA rejection, she requested for a meeting with Duterte but he refused.
Asked if she felt abandoned by the President, Taguiwalo responded: “I think that eventually, he left it to the CA to decide on my case without his intervention.” (WATCH: Rappler Talk with ‘People’s Social Welfare Secretary’ Judy Taguiwalo)
Choices for DSWD chief
Employees from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had expressed dismay over the CA decision to reject Taguiwalo’s appointment, describing her as a principled and compassionate leader.
Duterte has yet to choose a replacement for Taguiwalo. The President, however, said he is considering a female senator for the post. Other choices are from the private sector. He refused to name them.
Duterte said he wants someone who is “good with systems” and someone who will understand the “plight of the poor.”
He jokingly offered the DSWD post to ABS-CBN reporter Doris Bigornia who was present at the dinner. – Rappler.com