MANILA, June 4 (Mabuhay) – Justice Leila de Lima on Wednesday rejected accusations of incompetence and bias for alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles during her first confirmation hearing this Congress.
Three individuals opposed De Lima’s confirmation: former Siquijor Rep. Orlando Fua, whistleblower Sandra Cam and private individual Virginia Libunao.
Before answering the oppositions, De Lima delivered an opening statement, where she enumerated alleged irregularities she has investigated, including the alleged pork barrel scam.
“It is impossible to carry out the mandate of Secretary of Justice without getting negative sentiment… All I have done is to do my job, nothing more, nothing less,” De Lima said.
She then proceeded to debunk Cam’s accusations one by one.
De Lima said it is “regrettable” that Cam will accuse her of “gross incompetence by granting undue benefits to Napoles.”
The Cabinet official said she only accommodated Napoles’ supposed tell-all to get to bottom of the alleged pork barrel scam.
“As part of my truth seeking mandate, why would I not listen?… We are currently undertaking vetting to determine which of allegations of Mrs. Napoles has basis. It is part of our truth seeking mandate,” De Lima said.
Incompetence, media killings
Cam also accused De Lima of incompetence as Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson from 2008 to 2010, and for the supposed inaction against media killings.
“If a public officer proves unfit for a position, it is my duty to bring this to the attention of authorities… I cannot tolerate selective justice,” Cam said during the hearing.
De Lima, however, maintained that she has never been remiss in her duties as CHR chief and DOJ secretary.
“My record, my performance as CHR chairperson is a matter of public knowledge. You be the judge if I have been incompetent,” the Cabinet told members of the Commission on Appointments.
She added that she has been heading an interagency body to address media killings in the country.
In 2012, then-Senator Joker Arroyo also blocked De Lima’s confirmation for her supposed failure to follow an “honored practice” to “pay a call to each and every member” bicameral CA.
Aside from De Lima, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla have also been bypassed by the CA but were reappointed by President Benigno Aquino III.
Earlier in the day, however, Soliman finally got the nod of the CA committee on labor, employment and social welfare.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was supposed to block the confirmation of Soliman but she did not show up during the CA hearing.(MNS)