Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo has pitched for a transparent process in the Commission on Appointments in light of the CA’s rejection of the appointment of Secretary Judy Taguiwalo of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Robredo made the call at the sidelines of Freedom Cycle: Pedal Like Jesse event in her hometown of Naga City, Camarines Sur, which celebrates the good leadership qualities of her late husband, former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Jesse Robredo.
The appointment of Jesse Robredo as DILG secretary by then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd was also bypassed (meaning the CA did not act on it) multiple times. Until Robredo died in a plane crash in August 2012, he did not get confirmation from the Commission on Appointments.
Taguiwalo’s appointment was deemed rejected after 13 or majority of the 25-strong CA members from the House and the Senate rejected her appointment in a secret balloting, meaning those who rejected Taguiwalo’s appointment, as well as the reasons why her appointment was rejected, were not disclosed to the public.
“We prefer a more transparent process wherein we would know why an appointee is being rejected. The frustration comes from that fact that we don’t know the reasons for rejection,” Robredo said.
She however, conceded that such transparency is a long shot given that it is within CA rules to vet the appointees of the President and engage in secret balloting.
“This will happen again and again because it is part of democracy, part of the process, wherein the CA screens the appointees of the President. It is part of the process,” Robredo said.
“That’s why it is important for us to express our opposition to this practice so that those in power won’t abuse the mandate given to them,” she added.
Taguiwalo had a run-in with lawmakers in September 2016 after she issued Memorandum Circular 9 titled Supplemental Guidelines on the Implementation of Protective Services Program (PSP), which tasks the DSWD as the sole authority that will determine the beneficiaries of the government programs pursuant to existing guidelines.
The same memorandum states: “Referral letters from individuals, groups of individuals or organization, including public officials whether national or local executives, legislators, members of the judiciary or constitutional commission are not integral to the implementation of the PSP.”
The lawmakers took offense at the memorandum and accused Taguiwalo of turning down their constituents who are seeking government help thru a referral by their respective representatives.
National Youth Commission Chairman Cariza “Aiza” Seguerra also expressed her disgust over the rejection of Taguiwalo’s appointment.
“It is and will always be about politics. If you are a good public servant, you will be at risk [of being kicked out],” Seguerra posted on Twitter.
“CA members showed that they are not after the common good of our people. Show us who voted for her rejection,” she said.