MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s five interim appointees continue to await confirmation to formally lead constitutional offices after the Senate Majority Leader hinted it would be safer to wait until the new President appoints officials of his choice.
The Congressional Nominating Committee again suspended proceedings on the interim presidential nomination confirmation hearing on Monday, rescheduling it for Wednesday of this week, June 1.
“My suggestion is that since we have a last day, which could be Wednesday, we can resume it on Wednesday. Today’s hearing, we can resume it on a Wednesday and according to our rules, we will have to vote on it in caucus,” said Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
The motion to adjourn the hearing for the deliberation on the interim appointments of five candidates of the Elections Commission, the Audit Commission and the Civil Service Commission was not objected to .
The confirmation of charges hearing was originally scheduled for May 25. As a reminder, pending confirmation are the following:
- President of Comelec Saidamen Pangarungan
- Comelec curator George Erwin Garcia
- Comelec Commissioner Aimee Torrefranca-Neri
- President of the ACO Rizalina Noval Justo
- President of the CSC, Karlo Alexei Nograles
“A lot of my colleagues think maybe or should be the choice of the new president…especially in appointments to these constitutional offices,” Zubiri said.
Meanwhile, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III suggested that the congressional body make the appointments “on a case-by-case basis.” Pimentel noted that some of the appointments were made while Congress was on recess due to the campaign period.
A president can appoint or appoint an interim official to an office, but these must be confirmed by the board as a check and balance.
Under the CAs confirmation process“an acting appointment ceases to be valid upon disapproval by the Nominating Committee or, if not confirmed, until the next adjournment of Congress.”
The five were appointed as interim nominees by Duterte earlier this year, but Zubiri continued to stress that the president-elect should have the ability to select these people despite there being no law stating this.
He also said that the president-elect would even have a shorter term compared to the person appointed as president of the COA.
“[That’s] a seven-year position meaning that this new president, with a mandate of 31 million votes, will not even be able to appoint the head of the COA before even the last day of his mandate because she would have a longer deadline than the president, “said said Zubiri in a mixture of English and Filipino.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who won a record majority in polls this year, will take office on June 30. His term ends after six years.
Meanwhile, Zubiri has won his re-election bid as part of Marcos’ UniTeam roster.
In a CNN Philippines Monday afternoon updateZubiri said Marcos Jr. had spoken to him and when asked if he had received an endorsement for Senate President, he said he “didn’t want to sound presumptuous.”