MANILA – The Commission on Appointments (CA) has rejected the ad interim appointment of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Wednesday, August 16.
The CA plenary made the decision after the CA committee on labor and social welfare held an executive session on Taguiwalo's appointment on Wednesday, at least 3 CA sources said.
At the confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Taguiwalo was grilled on the Conditional Cash Transfer program, her views the proposed national identification system, and her links with the National Democratic Front (NDF), which had nominated her for the post.
The committee presented its recommendation to the CA plenary, which voted on whether to adopt or reject it the same day.
If the CA adopts the recommendation of the panel, Taguiwalo will be the third Duterte Cabinet appointee to be rejected by the powerful body, after former foreign secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr and former environment chief Gina Lopez.
Under CA rules, President Rodrigo Duterte can no longer reappoint a rejected official. Duterte reappointed Taguiwalo each time the CA bypassed her appointment. An ad interim appointment is deemed bypassed when the CA fails to act on it before Congress goes on session break.
The CA adopted the "3 strikes, you're out" policy in March to limit the number of times an appointee can be bypassed and reappointed. Once the appointee is bypassed for the 3rd time, he or she will face rejection.
Since the adoption of the new rule, the Left's nominee to the post has been bypassed twice during the sine die adjournment on June 2, and the special joint session on July 22.
Congress convened in a special session on July 22 to decide on Duterte's request to extend the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
At the time, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said that the Senate had agreed to consider the appointment of Taguiwalo and other Cabinet officials bypassed when it was not taken up then. The others are Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
Just before Wednesday's hearing, Taguiwalo told reporters that she was "hoping for the best but expecting the worst."
“Kung ang batayan ay integrity at competence, walang batayan para hindi ma-confirm ang appointment (If the basis is integrity and competence, there’s no basis not to confirm my appointment),” Taguiwalo told reporters as the CA panel held an executive session on her appointment.
Taguiwalo's relationship with Congress has been tense in her first year in office.
In August last year, she released an order seeking to end patronage in providing social aid. In that order, she reminded personnel evaluating aid requests that endorsement letters from public officials are "not integral" to the implementation of the DSWD's Protective Services Program.
Her appointment hearing had been deferred twice, the second time on May 17.
Taguiwalo's only CA hearing on May 3 turned controversial when Sotto quipped that single mothers like her are "na-ano lang" (just knocked up).
Her struggle to be officially appointed as social welfare chief has launched the#ConfirmJudy campaign on social media. Her supporters held banners outside the Senate building on Wednesday, seeking her confirmation. – Rappler.com