Palace welcomes posthumous confirmation for Robredo-A A +A
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
MANILA – Malacañang welcomed on Wednesday the proposal for the Commission on Appointments (CA) to confirm the late Secretary Jesse Robredo as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) posthumously.
But Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the chairman of the 24-man CA, said they have yet to study if a posthumous confirmation is even possible as it has never been done before.
Robredo died in a plane crash off Masbate last Saturday, a week away from his confirmation as secretary of the DILG. Two pilots were also killed while Robredo’s security aide survived.
Alagad party-list Representative Rodante Marcoleta proposed the posthumous confirmation for Robredo hours after the latter’s body was retrieved on Tuesday from the ill-fated plane.
"We certainly welcome that. Secretary Robredo has proven himself as a model government official even if he has not been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
He noted Robredo’s outstanding performance in instilling the administration's advocacy of hard work, good governance and transparency.
Lacierda added that the confirmation is a testament that Robredo is a "worthy Cabinet official who can be confirmed anytime."
Robredo's confirmation hearing was earlier set August 15, but was postponed due to the necrological services for Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, who died of cancer last August 13. The confirmation hearing was reset on August 29.
Meanwhile, Enrile explained why they have yet to study the posthumous confirmation.
"Not that I don't want him to be confirmed, in fact we had him scheduled for confirmation, but as far as my recollection goes, it has never been done before," Enrile said.
For her part, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said, "It's just an effort to show how much we think he should have remained in government, but it is not going to do him anymore good. There is no prohibition (on confirming Robredo's appointment post mortem). If the law does not prohibit, then it is not prohibited."
Lacierda, meanwhile, brushed off Senator Vicente Sotto III's claims that it is Malacanang's fault why Robredo's appointment was delayed.
"I think we shouldn't be doing the blame game right now. This is a period of mourning. This is a period of remembering him. It's not a period of blaming," the Palace official said.
Robredo was first appointed as acting secretary of DILG on July 19, 2010.
Sotto, who chairs the bicameral body's committee on interior and local government, said Malacañang took more than a year since Aquino assumed office on June 30, 2010, to submit Robredo's appointment papers for CA approval.
"For almost a year, he was never submitted for confirmation. [He was serving] only in acting capacity. I don't know why," Sotto said.
By the time it was submitted, Congress had its hands full on budget deliberations, the impeachment proceedings against then Chief Justice Renato Corona, and there were scheduled legislative breaks last second regular session.
Another CA member, Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte said he never attempted to block the confirmation of his nephew.
"It's not true that we are blocking his appointment," he said, noting that there were pending complaints against Robredo before the CA secretariat.
"In fact, my birthday is August 29. I told myself that it would be my gift to Robredo to have him confirmed. I even canceled all my appointments just to attend his confirmation on August 29," Villafuerte added.
Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez, the chairman for the House contingent, earlier said that the CA was "deprived the honor of confirming one of the best in the Cabinet."
Robredo served as acting interior secretary for more than a year. President Benigno Aquino III subsequently issued an ad interim appointment for Robredo from June 13, 2011 extended to October 13, 2011. It was again extended from December 15, 2011 to March 24, 2012, and June 7, 2012, said Lacierda.
Robredo was bypassed twice by the CA, first in March and in June this year.
Meantime, the senators adopted Senate Resolution 120, expressing the chamber's sympathy on Robredo's demise.
Senate Resolution 120 consolidates Senate Resolutions 841, 842, 843, 844, 848, and 850, introduced by Senators Franklin Drilon, Sotto III, Francis Pangilinan, Lito Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Enrile, respectively.
"Secretary Robredo instituted and implemented a policy of full public disclosure of the budget, finances and expenditures of local government units (LGUs) and agencies attached to the DILG, recognition of high-performing LGUs, and the institutionalization of partnerships with civil society organizations," the resolution stated. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)