Despite all the awards and accolades that the late Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo received, there was one thing that he failed to get and that was being confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Many Filipinos upon learning of this felt disappointed why such a good and well-meaning public servant like Robredo wasn’t even confirmed during his two-year stint as DILG Secretary.
The Commission on Appointments (CA) is composed of congressmen and senators and is in charge of ensuring checks and balances in terms of the appointments in the Cabinet and in the other Constitutional bodies such as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Commission on Audit (COA) that the President makes.
More often than not, when an appointee is bypassed by the CA, the President has a choice whether to re-appoint the person or replace him altogether with another one.
An example is the case of former COMELEC Commissioner Gus Lagman: he was not confirmed by the CA and President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not re-appoint him anymore; thus, he was eventually replaced by current COMELEC Commissioner Grace Padaca.
The CA which is currently chaired by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile can give a variety of reasons why it bypasses or outrightly rejects an appointee for a particular position but more often than not, the reason is usually personal and political in nature.
As for Robredo’s confirmation, many insiders believe that his confirmation was being opposed by Cong. Luis Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, a well-known political rival of Robredo.
As for Lagman’s confirmation, many believed that Enrile didn’t like the fact that Lagman was involved and was one of the leaders of the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) which is known to ensure that clean and honest elections transpire all over the country.
Track record of honest service
Another good and upright servant leader that is currently being given a tough time by the CA is current COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, who is known to have exposed the the Euro Generals scam in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
This expose led to the discovery of more than P 300 million that were allegedly pocketed by some military leaders led by former AFP Comptroller General Carlos Garcia.
Despite receiving many death threats and at the risk of even putting her family in danger, she continued to testify and bring out the truth regarding these anomalous transactions.
More recently, Mendoza is again in the limelight as she testifies in a graft case against the wife of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, former Mayor Elenita Binay of Makati City.
According to a COA report that Mendoza submitted more than 10 years ago, the bidding for a P 72-million furniture deal that happened when Mrs. Binay was still Mayor was rigged.
Mendoza revealed that two bidders, namely Office Gallery International and MFE International, who competed for the contract had the same address. She also alleged that the third bidder that eventually won the bid named Asia Concept was also owned by the same people who owns the two other bidders.
The Binay camp has since denied any wrongdoing and has alleged that Mendoza is doing this as a form of political vendetta against Vice President Binay who has his eyes set for a Presidential run in the 2016 elections.
If this were indeed true, then Mendoza must be like Nostradamus to be able to predict that Binay would make a run at the presidency by 2016 since she had already submitted these findings way back in 2001.
Also, even if Mendoza’s motivations are suspect, these do not matter if indeed there was graft and corruption that happened in this transaction that the administration of Mrs. Binay went into.
The best way for Binay to clear their name is to prove that these allegations are indeed untrue and not divert the public's attention by pointing to the alleged motivations of Mendoza.
Why hasn’t Mendoza’s appointment been confirmed?
So, why isn’t a good and honest government leader like Mendoza being confirmed by the CA?
The reason is really simple. The CA is currently chaired by Enrile, who is a known ally of Binay, and the Committee on Constitutional Commissions in the Senate, who is supposed to also hear the confirmation of Mendoza, is chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada, also a known ally of Binay.
It is also common knowledge that the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is currently opposing the Liberal Party (LP) in the upcoming 2013 elections, is led by Enrile, Binay and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
Now, in this scenario, do we even have to waste countless hours thinking of the main reason why Mendoza still hasn’t been confirmed?
Will we allow another good leader to go to waste just because of purely political reasons and personal interests like what happened to Robredo?
I certainly hope not.
For those who would like to support the confirmation of COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, you can show your support online by going to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/843/035/828/confirm-heidi-mendoza-now/ .
Comments are welcome at [email protected]
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Harvey S. Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government and is also the Lead Convenor of the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership.