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PBBM Cabinet nominees vs new Commission on Appointments

/ 10:21 AM May 31, 2022

This early, the powerful Commission on Appointments flexed its legislative oversight by throwing into limbo the “midnight ad-interim appointees” of outgoing President Duterte in the Commission on Elections (Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan, commissioners George Garcia, Aimee Torrefranca-Neri, Commission on Audit chair Rizalina Noval Justol and Civil Service Commissioner Karlo Nograles.

With the last plenary deliberations of the CA set tomorrow, Wednesday, it is very likely that Section 20 of the new Senate rules will be applied, ending the ad-interim appointments of these five constitutional officers on Friday, June 3. The consensus in the CA is premised on giving the incoming PBBM administration who won with 31 million votes, a free hand in selecting his choices in COMELEC, COA and CSC.

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Particularly visible in these discussions is Senate Majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who postures as a top contender for the Senate Presidency, while the present CA chairman is also his formidable opponent Sen. Cynthia Villar.

Who will get the majority 13 senators vote when the 19th Congress convenes? One must remember that almost half of the Senate membership was replaced in the last elections. Senators Ping Lacson, Frank Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Dick Gordon, Leila de Lima, Manny Pacquiao, Tito Sotto, Ralph Recto have retired while ex senators Loren Legarda, Alan Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, Francis Escudero, JV Ejercito have returned. Both outgoing senators Win Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva won fresh terms. Newcomers Robin Padilla and Raffy Tulfo complete the the 24-man line-up.

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Now, who will these new senators choose as new Senate President? Will they go for the younger, popular and very experienced Majority leader Migs Zubiri over the 2019 polls topnotcher, Nacionalista party chair and probably the first woman Senate leader Cynthia Villar? This hotly contested Senate leadership reins in the future vetting, this time, on the incoming Cabinet of the new Marcos administration.

And on the other hand, who will be the new 12 senator members and 12 congressmen members and ex-officio chairman of the next Commission on Appointments?

So far, there are 18 Cabinet nominations, all of whom were accepted and will be endorsed to the powerful Commission on Appointments next month. They are Executive secretary Vic Rodriguez, VP elect Sara Duterte-Carpio (DEPED). Zenaida Angping (PMS) , Benjamin Diokno (Finance) , Arsenio Balisacan (NEDA), Alfred Pascual (DTI) Felipe Medalla (Central Bank) Amenah Pangandaman (DBM) , Jesus Crispin Remulla (Justice) Manny Bonoan (DPWH) Benhur Abalos (DILG), Benny Laguesma (Labor) Susan Ople (Migrant Workers), Ivan John Enrile Uy (DICT), Cristina Frasco (Tourism) , Press Secretary Beatrix Cruz-Angeles and Special Assistant to the President Anton Lagdameo.

As of presstime, no announcements yet for the very important positions such as Defense, National Security Adviser, Foreign Affairs, Health, Energy, DOTR, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, DENR and DOST.

Following tradition, confirmation by the CA is largely “padrino system of patronage politics”. Since PBBM will have supermajority in both houses, it is assumed that they will be approved, but certainly not without difficulty. There is large pressure that transparency will be demanded in their public hearings. Issues of red tagging, previous anomalies or cases will be resuscitated against these Cabinet nominees by individuals or groups especially during the public sessions. All future actions by the new CA will be up for microscopic scrutiny mainly from the 14 million ‘pinklawans” or “kakampinks”.

For the record, outgoing President Duterte had six rejected nominees, Perfecto Yasay (DFA), Gina Lopez (DENR), Judy Taguiwalo (DSWD), Rafael Mariano (DAR) , Paulyn Ubial (DOH) and Michael Peloton (COMELEC). PGMA had one rejection in 2009, Ricardo Saludo (CSC) while FVR also had one with Ramon Del Rosario Jr. (DOF) in 1993.

By and large, PBBM has the best “economic team” in place with Finance Sec. Benjamin Diokno at the helm. On the peace and order side, the choice of former MMDA Chair Benhur Abalos as DILG head, overseeing the PNP and Boying Remulla in the Department of Justice, overseeing the NBI, are also the best choices.

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Benny Laguesma and Susan Ople on the labor side is perfect but this must match with the appointee from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) , which still plays a major role in the monitoring, providing help and repartriation of our OFWS abroad.

Interesting nominations are Trixie Angeles Cruz as Press Secretary and fellow broadcaster Erwin Tulfo at DSWD . I’ve worked with Erwin many years ago, and he has genuine and continuing desire to really help poor people.

But again as of today, , all these names are just nominations and can be cancelled by PBBM anytime or until rejected by the Commission. And inevitably, issues will come to derail every Cabinet appointment, from open complaints, bad PR, viral memes or even scandals.

And as the old adage says , for as long as you have nothing to hide, you are safe!

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TAGS: Bongbong Marcos, Cabinet nominees, commission on appointments, PBBM
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