CA panel OKs Education chief’s appointment
The Commission on Appointments (CA) unanimously approved on Wednesday the ad interim appointment of Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones.
Senator Bam Aquino, member of the Senate minority bloc, endorsed Briones’ confirmation as chair of the CA’s committee on education, culture and sports.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito seconded Briones’ nomination.
But the approval of her appointment did not come easy for the nominee as she had to defend herself from issues hurled at her, such as her being physically fit to hold the post.
During the committee hearing, Briones confirmed that she uses a wheelchair whenever she travels by plane but said her state of knees has nothing to do with the state of her brain.
“It’s true that I use a wheelchair whenever I travel by plane. But everybody I’m sure here agrees that there is no correlation between the state of my knees and the state of my (brains) as well as the capacity to analyze challenges whether these be related to education, to finance, to politics and the economy,” the nominee said.
Briones also pointed out that long before the declaration of human rights in 1948, no less than the wheelchair-bound Apolinario Mabini was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
She said Mabini served the country for the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“I’m sure and I’m confident that if at that time there was a Commission on Appointment, his appointment would have been approved readily, wheelchair notwithstanding,” she said.
During the past six months, Briones said she made 13 regional visits to disaster-stricken areas and had taken all forms of transportations like helicopters, jeepneys, etc.
She said she also attended a meeting in Jakarta, and the Apec meeting of education misters in Peru.
“That’s all about physical fitness,” Briones added. JE
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