• Appointments commission panel saves ‘Dinky’ from Miriam

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    SOCIAL Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman is likely to get her long awaited confirmation as head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) from the Commission on Appointments (CA) despite attempts of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago to block it.

    That anointment was made possible by the CA’s committee on labor, employment and social welfare, which during a committee meeting on Wednesday recommended the confirmation of the appointment of Soliman in a plenary session.

    But Rep. Conrado Estrella, chairman of the House of Representatives’ contingent to the CA, said the panel decided to defer the plenary session until next week because the schedule of the CA is already full.

    Soliman was supposed to be presented to the plenary session on Wednesday but the committee members decided to suspend the presentation for one more week.

    During a plenary session, a member of the CA can invoke Section 20 of the CA rules that suspends consideration of nominations or appointments.

    Santiago on Tuesday informed the chairman of the CA committee that she will be invoking Section 20 against Soliman.

    The senator, in her letter addressed to Estrella, said she will be attending the plenary session to personally invoke Section 20 and stop the confirmation of the appointment of the DSWD secretary.

    But because of the decision of the CA committee to reschedule the plenary session next week, Santiago will not be able to invoke Section 20 anymore because under the rules, the provision cannot be cited during the last session of the commission prior to a sine die adjournment of Congress.

    Section 20 states,“Any member may move for the suspension of action by the commission on any nomination or appointment favorably recommended by a standing committee and the [chairman]shall suspend the consideration of said nomination or appointment: Provided, that, such suspension may be taken up in the next succeeding session of the commission; Provided, further, that this section shall not apply to nominations or appointments taken up by the commission during the last session prior to a sine die adjournment of Congress.”

    Congress will be going on a sine die adjournment on June 13 and will come back in July for the opening of the second regular session.

    Santiago, upon learning about the decision of the CA panel, wrote Senate President Franklin Drilon, saying the rescheduling of the plenary session was part of the plan of some leaders of the Liberal Party (LP) to ensure the appointment of Soliman.

    The LP is headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

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