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Bypassed Cabinet members to be reappointed

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MANILA, Philippines—Yet again President Aquino will have to reappoint members of his Cabinet who failed to get the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA).

They are Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Commission on Audit Commissioner Heidi Mendoza and Election Commissioner Grace Padaca.

The four Cabinet members and two appointees to constitutional commissions did not pass muster at the CA on its last session day on Wednesday before Congress adjourns for the election season.

The commission is the bicameral body that approves appointments made by the President.

“In all likelihood they will be reappointed,” said Malacañang spokesman Ricky Carandang.

Interim appointments

Reappointment is necessary so the six can continue to discharge their official duties. Since Congress is in recess, Aquino will have to issue interim appointments.

The CA, however, confirmed the appointment of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

De Lima and Soliman have been bypassed by the commission since 2010, while Paje has been bypassed since his appointment became permanent in May 2011.

Petilla is a relatively recent addition to the Aquino Cabinet having replaced Secretary Rene Almendras who was named Cabinet secretary in October last year.

Meanwhile, the appointment of National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Orlan Calayag last month also appeared to be in jeopardy after it was belatedly learned that he had dual citizenship.

Calayag was recommended to the post by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala. Calayag had served as Alcala’s chief of staff when the latter was a member of the House of Representatives.

Abide by the law

Sought for comment, Carandang said he was “not personally aware that there’s been any confirmation of that.”

“I haven’t discussed that with the President. But we would probably just abide by what the law says,” he said when asked if Calayag, who reportedly also holds an American passport, could validly occupy a sensitive post in the Aquino administration.

Calayag is an entrepreneur, banker, community organizer and nongovernment organization volunteer.

Prior to his appointment, he had served as a loan and mortgage consultant for several US companies.

At his oath-taking before Alcala on Jan. 21, Calayag assured Alcala that during his stewardship of the NFA, “he would ensure that the country’s food security is protected and the prices of rice and corn will be stable, while looking after the welfare of the farmers,” said a statement posted on the online Official Gazette.


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Tags: bypassed , Cabinet members , Carlos Jericho Petilla , Dinky Soliman , Government , Heidi Mendoza and Grace Padaca , Leila de Lima , Philippines , Politics , Ramon Paje




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