Appointments Commission Organizes, Ready to Work
Byline: MARIO B. CASAYURAN
The bicameral 25-member Commission on Appointments (CA) formally organized itself yesterday by electing its key officials and committee chairmen who will, in the next two weeks, begin its job of determining the fitness of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyos Cabinet and other presidential appointees, particularly those in the beleaguered military establishment.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, concurrent CA chairman, yesterday offered the last scenario after Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiagos a shot of preemptive self-defense against Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman.
Santiago said she will personally campaign against Adans confirmation in the CA after the latter twitted her following her privilege speech on the alleged widespread corruption in the AFP.
On Malacanangs request for restraint on lawmakers on the AFP corruption issue, Drilon said that lawmakers, as elected representatives of the people, can issue statements on any issue which they believe is of public interest.
For the House, Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. is CA vice-chairman, Marcelino Libanan is Majority Leader, and Antonino Roman is Assistant Majority Leader. Opposition Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile is Minority Leader and Imee Marcos is Assistant Minority Leader.
Named as chairmen of the various committees were Sen. Edgardo Angara, constitutional commission; Marcos, trade and industry, government corporations and ethics; Santiago, foreign relations; Rep. Rafael Nantes, transportation; Sen. Sergio Osmena III, energy; Sen. Richard Gordon, environment and natural resources;
Sen. Loi Estrada, health; Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, local governments; Sen. Panfilo Lacson, justice; Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo, labor; Manuel Ortega, public works; Libanan, rules; Roman, tourism; Rep. Eduardo Veloso, science and technology; Sen. Ralph Recto, agrarian reform; Rep. Prospero Amatong, accounts; Jesus Jurdin Romualdo, national defense; and Sen. Lito Lapid, budget.
Marcos said it is the duty of the CA to undertake a comprehensive grilling on the fitness of presidential appointees and warned those tagged as arrogant would have their day in court.
With Congress about to go on holidays recess on Dec. 18 after a 40-day regular session, Romualdo admitted he is inclined to submit to the CA the mass promotion of AFP officials, except Adan because of the request of Santiago.
This man is part of a syndicated military corruption, and deliberately chose offensive language upon the instructions of his cohorts, especially those superior to him, she said, referring to the recent statements of Adan against her.
Because of the military culture of unquestioning obedience, the corrupt generals have convinced themselves that the entire AFP will protect and cover up for them.
On the contrary, the majority consisting of junior officers and foot soldiers are fully aware of the corruption of the generals, and have long since demanded that they be ousted and jailed, if not shot, Santiago said.
Garcia hits back
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Winston Garcia yesterday took his opportunity in the Senate to accuse his critics for allegedly espousing the cause of some people out to corner the financially-rewarding reinsurance business within the agency.
Still smarting from the weeklong beating he had received from his critics, Garcia admitted that some of the reforms he had instituted have become unpopular to some groups with vested interests, particularly in the GSIS $8 million reinsurance business. …