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Amid Miriam's threat, CA panel to proceed with confirmation of Mar's nomination

September 17, 2012 12:24pm

Despite the threat aired by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, a Commission on Appointments panel will push through with the confirmation proceedings on the nomination of Mar Roxas as Interior secretary.

"Yes, I will proceed with Mar's committee hearing and plenary recommendation for approval," Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III told reporters Monday. Sotto chairs the CA committee on local government.

Last September 5, the CA almost confirmed the nomination of Roxas as DILG secretary even without the presence of the outgoing Transportation chief. Roxas was named Interior chief following the death of Jesse Robredo in a plane crash last August 18 in Masbate.
But some lawmakers objected to the move, saying they cannot skirt the CA rules. They then agreed to hold the confirmation hearing on September 19, which Roxas is also expected to attend.
The hearing on the nomination of Rep. Jun Abaya as Transportation chief has also been set on the same day. Abaya will take the place of Roxas.

Miriam's threat
But on Sunday, Santiago said she may block or delay the confirmation of Cabinet members who snubbed a hearing that she called last Friday to look into alleged irregularities involving resigned DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno.
The Cabinet officials who were invited to the hearing but did not show up include Roxas, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.  

Incidentally, both Paje and De Lima have also not been confirmed by the CA.
Santiago said she can invoke Section 20 of the rules of the CA, which she said allows her to singlehandedly veto the confirmation of an appointee.
Sotto said this is the prerogative of any CA member but added that the same member should be aware of the consequences of the DILG not having a head.
"Then let the cards fall where they will. If government function is disrupted in the DILG, then let it be faulted to whoever is responsible," he said.  
"On my part, I will do my job to what I know is good for the people and not because it pleases or displeases me," he added.
Not the first time
Santiago has twice threatened to invoke Section 20 of the CA rules to block the confirmation of a Cabinet appointee.
Last year, she opposed the confirmation of the appointment of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, saying she was "bothered" by his position on the Health Department's policy on kidney transplants.
But she eventually withdrew her objection after Ona wrote her a letter saying that he has no plans of revising the DOH's existing administrative orders prohibiting kidney transplants between non-related donors.
Aside from Ona, Santiago also threated to use the same CA rule against Education Secretary Armin Luistro supposedly because of his "conflicting interests, gross ignorance of the law, and political deafness."
She also threatened to "massacre" more "lightweight" Cabinet members when they face the CA.
Later on, however, Santiago withdrew her objection of Luistro's nomination and said that she will heed the advice of the Dalai Lama to "observe compassion" in deciding whether to invoke her "one-person veto" during the confirmation proceedings of certain Cabinet members. — RSJ, GMA News
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