Bam Aquino on Lopez rejection: CA secret voting system ‘problematic’
Senator Bam Aquino admitted on Monday that the secret voting system in the Commission of Appointments (CA) was “problematic,” citing not only the issue of accountability but also the issue of “honesty” by some of its members.
“The secret voting system proved to be problematic with former Sec. Lopez’ confirmation,” Aquino, a CA member, said in a text message, referring to outgoing Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, whose confirmation was rejected by the Commission last Wednesday.
“Aside from issues of accountability, there were also issues of honesty with regard to some of the members’ public pronouncements on their vote,” he said.
Aquino, deputy minority leader in the Senate, said he would take up the matter with the CA minority if there is a need to revisit or modify the current secret voting system.
The senator issued the statement when sought for comment on Senator Panfilo Lacson’s sentiments against the CA members, who manifested their favorable vote for Lopez, saying it defeated the essence of the secret voting.
The decision to reject her appointment was reached during an executive session of the CA’s committee on environment and natural resources.
The chair of the committee, neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao, then reported the committee’s recommendation to the CA plenary, without disclosing the actual votes. Some CA members, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, claimed that at 16 members voted to reject Lopez and only eight voted for her confirmation.
At least four senators —Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and Senator Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito” and Francis Pangilinan— stood up during the plenary voting and manifested their votes for Lopez.
Aside from him, Pangilinan said the three other LP contingents in the CA, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Aquino, also voted for Lopez.
Pacquiao and Manila Representative Sandy Ocampo also reportedly claimed to have voted for Lopez’s confirmation, which brought the number of pro-Lopez to nine.
But Lacson, in an interview over the weekend, said the number of CA members who claimed to have voted for Lopez did not match the result of the voting.
“Numbers don’t add up eh. Sa mga umamin sila nag-confirm, sobra eh. Sobra sa alam kong bilang. Kasi nagbilangan kami may total. Ang sasabihin ko ang lahat na umamin sila nagboto to confirm, sobra sa bilang ng binasa sino nag-confirm,” Lacson said in an interview over DZBB on Sunday.
He refused to confirm the result of the voting, but said he counted those who claimed to be pro-Lopez.
“Sasabihin ko sa iyo, sobra ang bilang ng mga umamin sa alam kong bilang ng bumoto to confirm. So may nagmamagaling,” Lacson said.
“Sabihin na natin huwag nagsisinungaling, nagmamagaling sila kasi nakita nila ang negative na backlash kaya siguro and understandable, that’s the essence bakit gusto namin mag-secret balloting para huwag ma-expose ang sabihin na nating may mga concern sa backlash,” he added. JE/rga
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