MANILA, June 4 (Mabuhay) – Malacañang on Wednesday asked Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to go easy on Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Soliman, whose nomination she has repeatedly threatened to block.
Secretary Edwin Lacierda, President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesperson, also expressed the administration’s opposition to the proposal brought before the Commission on Appointments that appointees who have already been bypassed thrice be deemed no longer eligible for re-appointment.
“We ask Senator Santiago to look kindly on Secretary Soliman. She has done nothing but service for the country,” Lacierda told reporters in an ambush interview at the Palace.
Earlier in the day, Soliman hurdled the committee level of the Commission on Appointments (CA) but Santiago indicated that she continue to oppose the approval of the secretary’s nomination when CA plenary convenes anew next week.
Lacierda, however, said Soliman has answered all of the issues that were thrown against her.
“Matapat na official si Soliman, all her life she has devoted her life to social work, her duties to social work and so she is one of the most hard working cabinet official especially when it comes to typhoon and calamities,” he said.
Aside from Soliman, Justice Sec. Leila de Lima’s confirmation also remained pending before the CA due to certain issues.
But Lacierda said de Lima has likewise already sufficiently responded her oppositors.
“[And] insofar as her performance, her competence, her confidence, we continue to trust on the competence and [have] confidence on Secretary Leila de Lima,” he said during Wednesday’s Palace briefing.
If the two are bypassed, Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino III can always issue an ad interim appointment, which will allow them to hold their post even while Congress is not in session and unable to deliberate on their nomination.
Soliman and De Lima have yet to be confirmed since they were appointed to their posts in 2010.
Malacañang also opposed the proposal brought before the CA suggesting that appointees who have been bypassed thrice be no longer eligible for reappointment.
Lacierda explained that said such a rule would limit the power of the President to appoint.
“The President should have the free hand to appoint people who he believes are competent, that will further the public good,” he said.
Aquino, however, had a different view about the matter when he was still a senator. He even filed a bill seeking to limit the number of times the President may reappoint appointees bypassed by the CA.
Lacierda said on Wednesday said lawmakers must consider instances when appointees are bypassed not necessarily based on meritorious grounds but may be based on “some grounds other than merit.”
“I think it will be good if the deliberations will be focused on the competence, the performance of a Cabinet official, and not other extraneous matters that does involve the competence or the performance of the Cabinet official,” Lacierda said.
“If we’re going to base it on merit, I don’t think our Cabinet secretaries have failed to perform what is expected from them,” he added. (MNS)