CA confirms Menardo Guevarra’s appointment as Justice chief
admin • May 30, 2018 • 2178
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra
MANILA, Philippines – After the suspension of the confirmation hearing of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday, the Commission on Appointments (CA) has finally confirmed the DOJ chief’s appointment.
Coinciding this is the confirmation of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones and other government officials.
As Guevarra sat before the powerful CA panel, he was asked about his statement saying there’s no conflict of interest on security deals between the DOJ and Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Incorporated owned by the family of Solicitor General Jose Calida.
The company reportedly has P150-million worth of investments which was recently questioned before the office of the ombudsman due to conflict of interest and violation of RA 6713 or Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
“That’s for him [Calida] to explain eh. From the point of view of the DOJ, ang conflict of interest ay kung halimbawa, ‘yun bang bidder has any relation with anyone sa DOJ, like ‘yung sa BAC o Bids and Awards Committee ng DOJ,” said Guevarra.
(That’s for him [Calida] to explain eh. From the point of view of the DOJ, conflict of interest is when the bidder has any relation with anyone in the DOJ, like in the Bids and Awards Committee of the DOJ.)
But during the plenary session, the secretary was confirmed along with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat , Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, AFP Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez and several government appointees. -UNTV News & Rescue
The Department of Justice is waiting for an official directive from Malacañang concerning the controversial P60-million deal between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and government-run TV station, PTV 4 in 2017.
In a text message, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed that the Office of the Ombudsman is already investigating the matter. He added that the DOJ is “ready to help” in the probe.
“I’m verifying directly with Sec. Panelo, just waiting for his reply,” Guevarra’s message reads.
It will be recalled that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced yesterday that the DOJ will take steps to recover the P60-million in ad placement fees that the DOT paid to broadcaster Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media two years ago. Bitag is a blocktimer at PTV-4 and is owned by Ben Tulfo.
The deal was awarded to Bitag’s show, Kilos Pronto, which is hosted by the Tulfo brothers.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat wants to return the P60-M to the Commission on Audit.
This controversy resulted in the resignation of then DOT Secretary Wanda Teo who is the sister of the Tulfo brothers.
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday clarified that the appointment of new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno need not be confirmed by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the clarification after expressing confidence on Tuesday (March 5) that Diokno would get CA nod because he possesses “integrity, competence and expertise,” which are among the chief traits that President Rodrigo Duterte are looking for in the next BSP chief.
“After further evaluation of relevant laws and jurisprudence surrounding the appointment of former Secretary of Budget and Management Benjamin E. Diokno as the new Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), it is the position of the Palace that the said appointment need not be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA),” Panelo said in a statement.
Under Article 2, Section 6(a) of Republic Act 7653 of the New Central Bank Act, the appointment of BSP governor, as head of the department, “shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.
But citing Article VII, Section 16 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Panelo pointed out that the position of BSP governor does not fall under any of the categories of officials that require the CA’s nod.
Under the said provision, the Palace official noted that only heads of the executive departments; ambassadors; other public ministers and consuls; officers of the armed forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain; and other officers whose appointments are vested in the President under the Constitution, such as commissioners of constitutional commissions are required to get the CA’s nod.
“A perusal thereof reveals that the governor of the BSP does not fall under any of the categories of officials,” Panelo said.
He also cited the case of “Calderon vs. Carale,” saying that “the issue resolved by the Supreme Court was ‘whether or not Congress may, by law, require confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of appointments extended by the President to government officers additional to those expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Sec. 16, Art. VII of the Constitution.”
Panelo said, “the Supreme Court ruled in the negative explaining that Congress cannot amend the provisions of the Constitution by mere legislation.”
The Palace official also cited that while the petition in “Tarrosa vs. Singson” was dismissed due to its nature and the lack of legal standing of the petitioner, the Supreme Court in the said case had the occasion to cite the above-mentioned case of Calderon vs. Carale.”
“[The Supreme Court] also explain[ed in its ruling] that, “Congress cannot by law expand the confirmation powers of the Commission on Appointments and require confirmation of appointment of other government officials not expressly mentioned in the first sentence of Section 16 of Article VII of the Constitution,” Panelo added.
The said case involved the appointment of Mr. Gabriel C. Singson as BSP governor. Following the dismissal of the case, Mr. Singson’s appointment therefore did not undergo a confirmation process with the CA,” he said.
“In view of the foregoing doctrines, as well as the fact that a Governor of the BSP is not covered by Article VII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution, his appointment being provided by mere legislation, it is submitted that the appointment of former Secretary and new BSP Governor Diokno does not need confirmation from the CA,” Panelo concluded.
On March 4 (Monday), Diokno was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to take over the Philippine Central bank after the late Nestor Espenilla Jr. succumbed to cancer in February. – Robie de Guzman
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