CA confirms De Lima, Soliman, Paje

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THE powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed the ad interim appointments of three Cabinet secretaries and two commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) during its last plenary session on Wednesday.

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Secretaries Leila De Lima of the Department of the Justice, Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Ramon Paje of the Department of Environment of Natural Resources all got the approval of the commission despite objections raised by some of its members.

Of the three members of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s cabinet, only Paje got a negative vote from Senator Sergio Osmena 3rd, a member of the CA. The senator also informed the commission that he will submit his written opposition in the coming days.

De Lima, who was appointed secretary of justice in 2010, used to chair the Commission on Human Rights during the time of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

But since her appointment the CA never scheduled a hearing for its confirmation and it was only last week that she first faced the members of the commission’s justice, Judicial and Bar Council panel headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.

No objections were raised by members of the CA panel but at least three individuals tried to block her confirmation including the president of the Whistleblowers Association of the Philippines, Sandra Cam.

Cam brought up de Lima’s supposed illicit affairs, but the committee still approved her appointment.

Soliman, who was also appointed by the president in 2010, was bypassed by the commission several times before she secured its approval on Wednesday.

Sen. Miriam Santiago has consistently opposed her appointment for not being fit for the job. The senator was supposed to invoke section 20 of the CA rules calling for the suspension of Soliman’s consideration but she failed.

Under the rules, any member of the CA can invoke section 20 during plenary session and no questions would be asked, but the provision cannot be cited during the last session of the commission prior to a sine die adjournment of Congress.

The CA also confirmed the appointments of COA commissioners Heidi Mendoza and Jose Favia.

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