SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday criticized the alleged move of some members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) not to present Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Corazon "Dinky" Soliman's nomination at the plenary for technical reason that will favor the latter.
"Certain Liberal Party leaders, presumably with your knowledge and consent, have decided not to present Soliman's nomination at the plenary session this afternoon, Instead, it will be reportedly presented at the next commission on Appointments plenary session scheduled next Wednesday, 11 June," Santiago said in a letter addressed to Senate President Franklin Drilon, who is the ex-officio chair of the 25-man Commission on Appointment (CA).
"Under Section 20, since 11 June will be the last session prior to the sine die adjournment of Congress, I will lose the power to veto. Thus, I would have been deprived of a power granted to every member of the Commission on Appointments, simply to assure the confirmation of Soliman," the letter read.
Santiago said there is an obvious move to manipulate the schedule to make sure that Solaiman will get confirm.
"If this plan is true, then I fiercely protest against this juggling of dates, intended to deprive me of the veto. The newspapers today all carry news reports about my letter to (Representative Conrado) Estrella where, out of courtesy, I notified him of my intent to veto Soliman. To re-schedule Soliman for the sole purpose of circumventing the Rules is indubitably unethical and reeks of trapo politics," Santiago said.
Earlier, Santiago threatened to invoke Sec. 20 of the CA Rules, a non-debatable motion suspending the consideration of the appointee's papers.
The senator appeared to be out to avenge herself from the derision she claimed to have received from Soliman and her ilk during the impeachment trial of ousted President, now Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada.
"Palace insiders have told me that she and her ilk have felt free to denounce my integrity. I was a judge in the Estrada impeachment case and I voted against the opening of the second envelope. Soliman and her ilk immediately seized this incident as proof that I was pro Estrada and therefore corrupt. Eventually, the second envelope was opened and the glee concert failed to emit a peep when it turned out that they were wrong because there was nothing incriminatory in the second envelope," Santiago said in her letter to chairman of the screening committee, Representative Conrado Estrella III.
Santiago further noted to Estrella, who is also chairman of the CA committee on Labor, employment and social welfare, that she has been opposed to Soliman's nomination from the very beginning of the Aquino administration by questioning her integrity as a Cabinet official citing her being a supposed "turncoat."
"I denounced any plan to call her (soliman) name at the next plenary session, as a means of using Section 20 to obtain her undeserved and tenebrous confirmation," Santiago said.
Soliman is one of the four remaining Cabinet officials whose presidential appointments are yet to be confirmed by the CA. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)