Advise and consent: ‘clinging’ to PNoy

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Thursday, June 19, 2014


JERICHO PETILLA, who was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (C.A.), explained why he's holding on to his job as energy secretary.

Petilla was appointed, he didn't apply, the president asked him to serve. "Nobody else asked me. So long as I have his trust, I will continue. I will not be bothered."

Petilla gives the all-too-familiar pitch that other Cabinet nominees similarly shunned by C.A. offer. To them, only the approval of President Aquino matters.

That defense is time-worn, dull and, when aired by a bypassed nominee like Petilla, almost robotic.

It also misses the point of the appointment and confirmation process.

It's not all up to PNoy. The president is only half of "advise and consent," which the Constitution in effect mandates when it provides that his nominees shall be confirmed by legislature.

Sending the nomination to Congress theoretically is a check-and-balance mechanism. In practice, that has been foiled by a president who makes ad interim appointments to enable Cabinet secretaries like DOJ's Leila de Lima or DSWD's Dinky Soliman to be reappointed as often as the C.A. rejects them.

Multiple bypasses should tell PNoy his nominees didn't hurdle the C.A. bar.

Unclean hands

The C.A. though doesn't come with clean hands. Many members have used the power for personal grievance and vendetta or wangling political concessions and perks.

Often, C.A. members have no moral force to decide a nominee's fate. Often, the nominee, ignoring constitutional intent, clings to the president and, like Petilla, insists he's no "clinger."

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2014.

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