Manila Bulletin : Zubiri wants to give incoming Marcos admin free hand in naming nominees to COA, CSC, Comelec

By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri wants the Commission on Appointments (CA) not to act on the appointments of the Duterte administration and give the incoming Marcos administration the free hand to appoint its own nominees to constitutional commissions and offices.

Zubiri made the move in today’s committee hearing by the CA constitutional commissions and offices committee chaired by Senator Cynthia A. Villar that was trying to determine the fitness of appointees to key government positions.

It was Zubiri who successfully moved for the rescheduling by the Vlllar committee on its hearing last week because of the then on-going canvass and proclamation of the winners of the May 8, 2022 presidential and vice presidential elections.

The Villar committee will again meet Wednesday morning, the last plenary session of the CA where appointees are either confirmed or bypassed just before Congress adjourns sine die on June 3.

Quoting then Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile during a CA discussion, Zubiri suggested that the incoming President be given a free rein in choosing the members of the CA Constitutional Commission and Offices.

Zubiri said that in February 2016, Enrile invoked Section 20 of the CA rules and explained that the appointment by the outgoing President would deprive the incoming President the free hand to choose the people he would want to represent him.

“I tell you, ambassadors deployed abroad are representatives of the President. It would be unfair to the next President if these people are appointed by the outgoing President,” Zubiri said, quoting Enrile.

Zubiri noted that former President Benigno Aquino III gave the incoming Duterte administration a “free hand to choose the choices of his Constitutional Commissions.”

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III asked Zubiri that they make exceptions by acting on the appointment of appointment of Rizalina Novel Justol as COA chairman vice Michael G. Aguinaldo which ends until February 2, 2029.

Zubiri said Justol’s tenure as COA chief would last for seven years while President-elect Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has six years.

Pimentel pointed out that Justol was appointed last February 17 just before Congress went on a three-month recess because of the political campaign leading to the May 9, 2022 elections.

To do so, according to Zubiri, also be unfair to the other appointees.

They are Saidamen Pangarungan as chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) until February 2, 2029 vice Sheriff M. Abas and Aimee S. Torrefranca-Neri as Comelec commissioner until February 2, 2029 vice Rowena Amelia V. Guazon.

The others are Karlo Alexei Bendigo Nograles, as CSC chairman vice Alicia dela Rosa-Bala until February 2, 2029; and George Erwin M. Garcia, as Comelec commissioner until February 2, 2020 vice Antonio T, Kho.