• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The Role of the Nominations Committee, Explained

ByChad J. Johnson

May 24, 2022

Presumed President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the only son and namesake of his late dictator father, wants to appoint people to his cabinet who show “patriotism” and “love for [the] country.”

In a press release, attorney Vic Rodriguez, chief of staff and spokesperson for Marcos Jr., said these qualities are the “primary requirements”, besides competence, for the selection of candidates and appointees to the key positions in the next administration. Rodriguez was named executive secretary to Marcos Jr.

As with all presidents after 1986, candidates and appointees by Marcos Jr., once he is officially proclaimed the 17th President of the Philippines, are subject to review and confirmation by the Nominations Commission (CA), a 25-member panel made up of senators and members of Congress.

Here are four things you need to know about AC:

1. What is the function of AC?

The AC serves as a “moderator” of the president’s appointing power by scrutinizing the qualifications and ensuring the suitability of those chosen for specific positions in the government bureaucracy.

During Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s eight-year martial regime, there was no “checks and balances” mechanism for the president’s appointments to “judicial, military, and other sensitive positions” because the AC had “ceased to exist”. The 1973 Constitution, which was approved under Marcos Sr., removed a guarantee from the 1935 Constitution requiring the president to obtain the prior consent of the AC before formally appointing key government officials.

The AC was re-established as an independent constitutional body under the 1987 Constitution, which was drafted following the ousting of Marcos Sr. in 1986.

2. Which government positions go through the CA process?

Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution requires the President to seek the consent of the CA when appointing “heads of executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the armed forces having the rank of colonel or naval captain”. , and other officers whose appointments devolve upon him.

The president can make two types of appointments: regular and acting. Appointments or regular appointments are issued when Congress is in session; acting appointments are issued when Congress is in recess.

The president must submit the nomination or appointment to the Board, which has 30 sitting days to review the qualifications of a potential official and deliberate on whether to approve, reject or override it.

Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the CA approved 1,955 nominations and appointments in January 2022. The Constitution prohibits the Chief Executive from making an appointment two months before a presidential election until the end of his term , but may issue temporary appointments. in leadership positions when the public service or public safety is “threatened” by continuous vacancies.

Some government positions do not need to go through the AC, such as a vice president position in the Cabinet, as provided for in Section 3, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos seeks confirmation of the context of Sara Duterte’s DepEd appointment needs)

Other positions that do not require confirmation by the CA include the heads of constitutional offices such as the commissioner of the Customs Office, the chairman and members of the Human Rights Commission. Although the Ombudsman and Deputies, Supreme Court Justices, and Lower Court Justices do not require Board approval, candidates are selected by the President from a shortlist prepared by the Board. of the judiciary and the bar.

Also exempt are the chairman and commissioners of the National Labor Relations Commission, directors and chief superintendents of the Philippine National Police, and officers, from the rank of captain and above, of the Philippine Coast Guard.

3. Who makes up the Board and its standing committees?

The CA is a constitutional body of 25 members. Although its members belong to Congress, the commission is independent of the legislature.

It is headed by the President of the Senate as President ex officio, with 12 members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives. The constitution requires board members to be selected “on the basis of proportional representation” of political parties and party groups.

Board members must elect a vice-president, a majority leader with two assistants and a minority leader with two assistants. They are also expected to elect the chair, vice-chair and members of the commission’s 25 standing committees, such as the foreign affairs and education committees.

Of the 25 commissions, 22 are responsible for examining applications or appointments within their respective jurisdictions. For example, the nomination or appointment of the secretary of defense must be referred to the National Defense Committee, while the chairmen and heads of the Audit Commission, the Elections Commission and the Civil Service Commission are examined by the Committee of the Constitutional Commission and Bureaux.

The other three committees – the Accounts Committee, the Rules and Resolutions Committee and the Ethics Committee – are responsible for resolving internal issues, such as cases involving breaches of ethics by Board members.

4. Were appointments refused by the Board?

Under Duterte, five appointments for cabinet secretaries were rejected in 2017.

The nomination of Duterte’s college roommate Perfecto Yasay as foreign secretary was the first rejection in March 2017 over citizenship issues. It was revealed during the CA hearings that Yasay renounced his US citizenship just two days after he was appointed to the post in June 2016.

Two months after Yasay’s rejection, the board rejected Gina Lopez’s acting appointment as environment secretary. Lopez’s appointment was met with opposition from the mining industry after 23 mines were closed and operations were suspended at five others.

Two of Duterte’s appointees on the left — Judy Taguiwalo as Welfare Secretary and Rafael Mariano as Land Reform Secretary — were also voted out in August and September 2017, respectively.

In September 2018, Duterte, who offered four cabinet posts in May 2016 to communist rebels in a bid to achieve peace with them, expressed relief that the board had rejected his leftist nominations. Duterte called off peace talks with communist rebels in November 2017 due to allegations of continued atrocities.

(See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: From “friend” to foe, Duterte sees the demise of the CPP-NPA)

The fifth and final Duterte Cabinet appointee rejected by the AC was Paulyn Ubial for the Department of Health in October 2017. Ubial faced four petitions against his appointment, including one from Philippine Health Insurance employees Corporation who questioned its management style.

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Official website of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Love of country and patriotism are the main requirements of the BBM cabinet, May 14, 2022

Official website of the Nominations Commission, Introduction, consulted on May 20, 2022

Official Facebook Page of Attorney Vic Rodriguez, Nominated for Executive Secretary:, May 22, 2022

Official website of the Official Gazette, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, accessed May 20, 2022

Official website of the Appointments Commission, Terms of Reference, accessed May 20, 2022

Nominations Commission official website, confirmation process, accessed 20 May 2022

Official website of the Appointments Committee, THE NEW RULES of the APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE and RULES OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES, consulted on May 20, 2022

Nominations Commission official website, About, accessed 20 May 2022

Nominations Commission official website, homepage, accessed 20 May 2022

Official website of the Official Gazette, 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, accessed May 20, 2022

Official website of the Official Gazette, Constitution of 1935 modified, consulted on May 20, 2022

Nominations Commission official website, confirmation process, accessed 20 May 2022

List of nominations and confirmed appointments of the Nominations Commission

Official website of the Presidential Office of Communications Operations, speech by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the meeting with the Filipino community, October 16, 2016

CNN Philippines, CA official website rejects nomination of Yasay as DFA chief, March 8, 2017

Philstar.com official site, Perfecto Yasay fails to get confirmation as DFA leader, March 8, 2017

Inquirer.net official site, Foreigner Yasay no more, March 8, 2017

Rappler.com Official Site, CA Rejects Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary, May 3, 2017

CNN Philippines, CA official website rejects nomination of Gina Lopez as DENR chief, May 3, 2017

Greenpeace Philippines official website, Gina’s rejection is a rejection of change, May 3, 2017

Official website of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources LOPEZ ORDERS THE CLOSURE OF 23 METAL MINES, February 2, 2017

ABS-CBN News Official YouTube Channel, Taguiwalo Rejected as Social Welfare Chief, August 16, 2017

Official Rappler.com YouTube Channel, CA Rejects Rafael Mariano as Land Reform Secretary, September 6, 2017

Rappler.com official site, Duterte on the left: 4 departments yours, May 16, 2016

Inquirer.net official site, Duterte offers key government positions to CPP, May 16, 2016

CNN Philippines official website, Duterte offering Cabinet positions at the CPP, May 17, 2016


Official website of the Official Gazette, Proclamation No. 360, November 23, 2017

Official website of the Senate of the Philippines, Pangilinan is the new CA Minority Leader, September 5, 2019

Rappler.com Official Site, CA Rejects Paulyn Ubial as Health Secretary, October 10, 2017

Manila Times, Appointments body rejects health chief (via archive.org), October 11, 2017

Inquirer.net Official Site, Ubial on AC Rejection: C’est la vie, October 11, 2017