MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said there should be transparency in the processes of the Commission on Appointment (CA), a day after it rejected the appointment of Judy Taguiwalo to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
At least 13 CA members, in a secret balloting, voted for her rejection, in a confirmation hearing on Wednesday. The House and the Senate had 12 contingent each to the body.
“Mas gugustuhin sana natin na mas transparent din iyong process, mas alam natin kung bakit na-reject (We wish there could be more transparency; then we’d know the reason for the rejection),” she said at the “Freedom Cycle” press conference in Naga City.
Robredo underscored the importance of the public voicing its concerns over decisions made by the bicameral body.
“Tingin ko kasi, iyong frustration kasi nanggagaling doon … Iyong alam mo na iyong pinaglalaban nitong taong ito, iyon din iyong pinaglalaban mo, and yet hindi siya pumasa sa proseso (I think this is the wellspring of frustration … where you know that the others are fighting for is also the very thing you are fighting for, and yet it did not pass muster),” she said.
“Mahalaga din na kapag may ganitong nangyayari, nag-e-express tayo ng outrage, para iyong mga tao naman o opisina na binigyan ng mandate, parang nako-call out iyong attention nila, na hindi naaabuso iyong mandatong ibinigay sa kanila (It’s also important that when something like this happens, we are able to express outrage, that offices or persons given a mandate are called out so that the mandate is not abused),” she added.
Various groups and individuals have expressed dismay over the CA’s rejection of Taguiwalo, who was the third Duterte Cabinet member not to be confirmed after former secretaries Perfecto Yasay (Foreign Affairs) and Gina Lopez (Environment and Natural Resources).
While many may not agree with the decision on Robredo, she acknowledged that rejection of Cabinet appointments is part of the democratic political process. It is meant as a check-and-balance mechanism pertaining to the presidential power to appoint,” said the Vice President.
“At the end of the day, this check-and-balance process is indicative that democratic institutions are working, and, so, should be respected,” she said.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers who were part of the House contingent indicated that they voted to confirm Taguiwalo, contrary to reports that all congressmen rejected her.
Manila Rep. Rosenda Ann Ocampo said Taguiwalo “would have been a great equalizer” in the Duterte Cabinet.
Davao Oriental Rep. Mayo Almario also said he voted for Taguiwalo.
“As a CA member, I find Taguiwalo qualified as Secretary of DSWD and should be confirmed. But as committee chairman, even if my YES vote is different from the majority vote, I have to adhere, abide and announce the collective decision of the majority,” he said.
Aside from Ocampo and Almario, the other members of the House contingent are Reps. Ronaldo Zamora, vice chairman; Rodolfo Albano III, majority floor leader; Abraham Tolentino, assistance majority floor leader, Julieta Cortuna, assistant minority leader; Jerry Trenas, assistant minority leader; Seth Frederick Jalosjos; Wes Gatchalian; Roy Loyola; Benhur Salimbangon; and, Josephine Ramirez Sato.
The Senate contingent are Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, chairman; Francis Pangilina, minority floor leader; Vicente Sotto III, assistant majority floor leader; Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV; Franklin Drilon; Juan Edgardo Angara; Gregorio Honasan; Panfilo Lacson; Loren Legarda; Emmanuel Pacquiao; Ralph Recto; Cynthia Villar; and, Miguel Zubiri.
In a news conference, partylist Reps. Antonio Tinio, Carlos Zarate, France Castro, Arlene Brosas and Sarah Elago lamented that the President did not exert enough effort to keep Taguiwalo in his Cabinet.