Roxas 'okay' with senator's threat to veto appointment-A A +A
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
SECRETARY Manuel Roxas II sees no problem with the decision of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to block the Cabinet secretary's confirmation in the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
Santiago earlier vowed to oppose the confirmation of all Cabinet members who failed to show up in a hearing of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws involving resigned Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno.
Aside from Roxas, who was recently appointed as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the other Cabinet officials who failed to attend the hearing are Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Both Paje and de Lima have also yet to be confirmed by the CA panel.
"That's her right. I was also a member of the CA when I was a senator and that right is granted to members of the CA," Roxas told reporters at the House of Representatives.
Roxas was present in the House plenary deliberations on the 2013 proposed budget for the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Tuesday.
Roxas said Santiago's invitation was an evaluation on the performance of Puno in which he had nothing to do with.
"I can't contribute anything because I'm still with the DOTC. Up to now, I haven't started at the DILG. I haven't worked with Puno in any way. I know him but we hadn't had the chance to work together in any program or project or any kind of government activity," he said.
On Tuesday, Santiago wrote the CA that she will really oppose the nomination of Roxas and other Cabinet officials who were prevented by Malacañang to attend the probe.
"I wish to stand by the principles of checks and balances between the executive and the legislative branches of government. This applies to all the Cabinet members concerned," the senator said.
Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said they will respect Santiago's decision because any CA member can invoke Section 20 without giving any reason.
Enrile added he will not ask Santiago to change her mind.
"I don't talk to anyone in connection with the confirmation of any member of the Cabinet. I never did. I am a non-voting member unless there is a tie. I am the presiding officer, ex-officio by constitutional mandate," he said.
If not confirmed by the CA on Wednesday, Enrile said President Benigno Aquino III can give Roxas an ad-interim appointment, which has an effect of a permanent appointment unless revoked by the congressional body.
The DOTC official was chosen to replace the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a tragic plane crash in Masbate last August 18.
Puno was a subject of a Senate inquiry last week over his alleged involvement in jueteng operations and illegal logging, among others. (Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)