AQUINO WON’T GIVE UP ON BYPASSED CABINET OFFICIALS

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd will keep reappointing members of his Cabinet who failed to get the nod of the Commission on Appointments until they are confirmed, Malacañang said Wednesday.

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Bypassed by the commission were Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, and Commission on Audit (COA) Commissioner Heidi Mendoza.

Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte earlier said all presidential appointees who have been bypassed several times by the commission must be deemed rejected and should no longer be reappointed.

Fariñas, the commission’s Majority Leader, said the recurring reappointments of bypassed nominees make a mockery of the constitutional provision that all presidential nominees to key state positions must be confirmed by the CA.

But Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the President has no intention of looking for replacements to his bypassed appointees.

“We will continue to submit their names to Congress [until they are confirmed],” Lacierda told reporters. “We believe that these Cabinet members have been fulfilling their jobs, and they will continue to explain to the Commission on Appointments, if there’s a necessity to do so.”

Meanwhile, the commission’s Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Offices headed by Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd has recommended to the CA plenary session the confirmation of the appointments of Al Parreno and Luie Tito Guia as members of the Commission on Elections.

Guingona put Mendoza’s appointment on hold after Sen. Jose Estrada asked the CA committee for another hearing date so he could question Mendoza.

The COA has linked several lawmakers, including Estrada, to the pork barrel scam.

But Lacierda defended Mendoza, saying she “has done a good job with [COA chair] Grace Tan.”

He said Mendoza was among those who headed the Citizen’s Participatory Audit program, which won a Bright Spots award at the Open Government Partnership summit in London in November.

“I don’t think you will need my comment on that. I think Commissioner Heidi Mendoza has already spoken why she could not be confirmed. And we will leave it with the comment made by Commissioner Heidi Mendoza as to the reasons why she could not be confirmed,” Lacierda added.

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