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Gonzalez gets CA nod after four years

June 4, 2008 3:11pm

MANILA, Philippines - After more than four years Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has finally received the Commission on Appointments’ nod after members of the opposition supported his confirmation.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the CA committee on justice, noted that this was the 19th ad interim hearing on Gonzalez's confirmation.

"A journey no matter how long and hard should reach the crossroads and we should decide as a collegial body on the fate of the nominee. We may not be the best of friends But you know, levity aside, barely recuperating from a transplant operation, you were raring to go back to work and you strike me as a person who loves his job,” Lacson told Gonzalez, whom he had traded barbs several times in the past.

“If only for that we reached this point we are making a decision whether to reject you as an appointee of the president or recommend you to the plenary," Lacson further said before recommending Gonzalez’s confirmation to the plenary.

With his confirmation at the committee level, Gonzalez is due for formal confirmation at the CA plenary session on June 11.

Senate President Pro-tempore Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada seemed to have buried the hatchet as well when he noted Gonzalez's "remarkable performance" in his job since undergoing a kidney transplant last year.

"I've been a vocal critic since he was appointed secretary of Justice, since he had this penchant of criticizing members of the opposition or lambasting members of the opposition. He took his oath as secretary of justice. But this time, I have noticed and monitored his work and his job as secretary of justice after he was discharged from the hospital. And I have noticed his remarkable performance as secretary of justice. Hence I as a member of the opposition will not object to his confirmation," Estrada said.

Estrada was referring to Gonzalez's tirades against the opposition, including his father, former President Joseph Estrada.

Gonzalez, who had been repeatedly bypassed since 2004, told the CA his health has improved since the operation.

According to the DOJ website, Gonzalez was first named Justice secretary on Sept. 1, 2004, replacing Simeon Datumanong.

"I would feel my health is better than before. I was operated on Sept. 14 last year, I have a monthly checkup both physical and laboratory and the results are a lot better," Gonzalez told Lacson.

On the other hand, militant lawmakers including Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza opposed Gonzalez's confirmation, with Maza citing Gonzalez's derogatory attitude towards women.

Maza cited, among others, patronizing statements against former President Corazon Aquino and Susan Roces, wife of the late Fernando Poe Jr, the opposition’s presidential bet in the 2004 elections. - GMANews.TV