THE Commission on Appointment (CA) confirmed on Tuesday the appointments of Mel Senen Sarmiento as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Juan Andres Bautista as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Bautista should have been confirmed on September 2, but the CA committee on Constitutional Commissions and Offices deferred the consideration of his appointment after Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile directed him to submit additional documents first.
Enrile asked Bautista about the actions taken by the Comelec on the letter of Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) Chairperson Tita de Villa to then Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes involving the case of 18,468 precincts that did not have any electronic or manual count of votes.
Other oppositors to Bautista’s appointment were Lin Ilusorio Bildner, President of Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. (PHILCOMSAT) and Jose Ma. Ozamis, chairman of audit of the Philcomsat Holdings Corp. who accused Bautista of “vindictive behavior” towards Philcomsat and the Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corp. (POTC) when he was still the chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).
As for the other issues raised against Bautista, Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, CA majority floor leader, pointed out that the role of the CA is to review the qualifications of the nominee or appointee.
“Other matters raised here should be taken up in another forum,” he added.
Bautista said the poll body can fully concentrate on preparations for next year’s elections now that the CA has confirmed his appointment.
Sarmiento’s confirmation on the other hand came just hours after his nomination was approved without objection during the deliberation of the Committee on Interior and Local Government, Regional Consultative Commissions and Regional Autonomous Governments chaired by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Marcos said it was during Sarmiento’s term as mayor when Calbayog City recorded the highest reduction in poverty incidence among all cities from 2003 to 2009 based on the records of then National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
Sarmiento, before he was appointed DILG chief, represented the first district of Samar at the House of Representatives.