Roxas explains absence in Santiago’s hearingBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines—Incoming Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas explained on Wednesday that his absence in last week’s hearing of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago was not meant to “degrade” or “demean” the process.
“I wish to clarify that my non-appearance was in no way to snub, degrade, demean or diminish the importance of the Senate hearing,” Roxas said during his confirmation hearing of the Commission on Appointments’ committee on interior and local government.
“I uphold the Senate and its processes with utmost understanding,” he said.
Roxas said he declined the invitation by Santiago’s committee on constitutional amendments last week because he has not yet officially assumed his post as new head of the Department of Interior and Local Government and therefore could not speak with authority anything about the agency.
Besides, he said, he has not worked with resigned Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno, who was the subject of the hearing.
Santiago said she would veto Roxas’ confirmation at the CA plenary session for snubbing her hearing.
Asked about Santiago’s plan, Roxas said he would abide by the CA rules, which provide veto power to a member of the body.
“I defer to the rules of the CA and submit myself to such processes,” he said.