MANILA, Philippines - Thanks to a "shift of mood" among lawmakers, a diplomat who did not include a property in his statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Nestor Padalhin, the appointed ambassador to Syria, finally got the nod of the powerful body on Wednesday after submitting corrected SALNs.
Last week, the CA deferred Padalhin's confirmation after senators pointed out that he did not declare a three-bedroom residential unit in the US in his SALNs. That was a day after the Senate sitting as an impeachment court convicted Chief Justice Renato Corona for SALN omissions.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, the chair of the CA committee that endorsed Padalhin's confirmation, said lawmakers accepted Padalhin's explanation that he received wrong legal advice about his SALNs.
Padalhin had said during his first confirmation hearing that he did not declare the property in his 2008-2011 SALNs because he has not finished paying for it and it's located abroad.
"The attitude of at least the committee on foreign relations is leniency," said Santiago, who voted to acquit Corona in the impeachment trial. "You can see here apparently a shift of mood among senators."
Asked if there's a double standard for public officials when it comes to the SALN, Santiago said, "Let me insist on my original phraseology, so that I do not embroil myself once more in controversy."
Aside from Padalhin, the CA confirmed the nominations of Jocelyn Batoon-Garcia as ambassador to Thailand and Henry Bensurto Jr. as chief of mission.