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CA panel suspends hearing on Pascual's appointment as DTI chief

A Commission on Appointments (CA) committee on Tuesday suspended the deliberations on the ad interim appointment of Alfredo Pascual as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) due to a lack of time.

Luis Raymund Villafuerte, CA Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Representative, moved to suspend the hearing, saying that another committee was slated to tackle the ad interim appointment of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and that the bicameral body had to wrap up its plenary session by 3 p.m.

"For lack of material time, I move to suspend the consideration of the ad interim appointment of Mr. Alfredo Espinosa Pascual as secretary of the Department Trade and Industry," Villafuerte said.

His motion was approved by the CA Committee on Trade and Industry after it was seconded by Senator Imee Marcos.

Before the hearing was suspended, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel raised the leadership feud in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority-- an agency attached to the DTI.

He said controversy sparked at PEZA when Pascual allegedly ordered current PEZA officer-in-charge Director General Tereso Panga to replace former Director General Charito Plaza upon his assumption as DTI secretary.

The congressman also said that some of the permanent employees were placed on floating status or were demoted.

"Kayo po ang head DTI, yung PEZA is under your agency. Since you are the father of DTI, you should be able to take care of this problem and we cannot just take for granted this complaint," Pimentel said.

Pascual denied that he designated Panga as OIC of PEZA and the latter assumed the post in operation of the memorandum circular issued by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos which declared certain positions in the departments, offices, agencies and bureaus vacant.

On the issue of the employees, Pascual claimed that he only knew about the matter during the hearing.

He committed to investigate and address the situation.

"This matter of employees having complaints is coming to my attention only now. I have not had any report from the employees directly when these things are happening. Now that I am aware of this, we will investigate and see how we can address the problems," Pascual said.— VBL, GMA Integrated News