No need for new BSP Gov Diokno to get CA nod: Malacañang

Robie de Guzman   •   March 6, 2019   •   1798

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno

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

Bangko Sentral, DA, and DAR amend implementing rules of Agri-Agra Law

Robie de Guzman   •   March 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), approved the amendments to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act (RA) 10000 or the Agri-Agra Reform Credit Act of 2009.

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the amendment introduced to the implementing rules will help improve financing to the agrarian reform, fisheries, and agricultural sector.

“The amendments to the Agri-Agra IRR are the product of the concerted efforts of the DA, DAR, and the BSP to mobilize bank sector financing towards the agrarian reform, fisheries, and agricultural sector by addressing challenges identified in the operationalization of the Law,” Diokno said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is a timely and positive development since it will assist this sector to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other natural calamities,” he added.

In particular, the amendments to the IRR of Agri-Agra Law are the following:

  • Expand the eligible modes of compliance with the ten percent (10%) agrarian reform credit requirement by including: (a) loans to members of agrarian reform households, and (b) financing of activities that shall generally benefit agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and/or ARB households as well as agrarian reform communities;
  • Remove the accreditation requirement for debt securities to be considered as agri-agra eligible;
  • Allow investments in shares of stock of companies that are primarily engaged in eligible agricultural activities as an eligible mode of alternative compliance; and
  • Promote special lending arrangements that consider the holistic requirements of agricultural borrowers such as agricultural value chain financing.

The BSP said the amendments to the law’s IRR will “broaden access of the agrarian reform sector to bank financing, streamline banks’ process of investing in agri-agra eligible securities, and promote innovative financing solutions, within the legal ambit of R.A. No. 10000.”

The central bank, however, said that the IRR amendments are only an “interim measure” pending the passage of the proposed amendments to the Agri-Agra Law.

The BSP said it is currently pushing for the enactment of comprehensive amendments to the Agri-Agra Law which recommend a financing approach that considers the requirements of the broader agricultural ecosystem.

The proposed amendments to the law are envisioned to strengthen rural development and improve the well-being of agricultural and rural community beneficiaries, it added.

 

BSP Governor Ben Diokno discharged from hospital

Robie de Guzman   •   January 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno has been discharged from the hospital after undergoing a medical procedure, the central bank said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BSP said Diokno’s discharge was “earlier than expected,” adding that he is steadily recovering from the surgery.

“The Governor is now recuperating at home and may preside over the Monetary Board meeting as early as next week,” the central bank said.

The BSP earlier said Diokno underwent a medical procedure on Sunday, January 17 to address a blood clot caused by a minor head accident.

While he is on medical leave, he has designated Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila as BSP’s officer-in-charge.

BSP chief Diokno on medical leave after ‘minor’ head injury, assigns Dakila as OIC

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno has designated Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila Jr. as the officer-in-charge of the central bank while he is on medical leave.

In a statement, the BSP said Diokno underwent a medical procedure on Sunday, January 17 to address a blood clot caused by a minor head accident.

“The procedure went well and I’m now on my way to recovery. Meanwhile, I’m designating Francis Dakila as OIC BSP Governor while I’m recuperating,” Diokno was quoted as saying in his message to the Monetary Board and BSP staff.

Citing his medical report, the central bank said the prognosis for Diokno’s complete recovery is “very good” as he was awake and conversant an hour after the procedure.

He is expected to be discharged from the hospital in four to five days and is anticipated to return to work subsequently, the BSP added.

“The BSP remains focused in promoting price stability, financial system stability and an efficient payment system,” the central bank said.

Diokno was appointed BSP Governor in March 2019 to replace the late Nestor Espenilla Jr. who passed away in February 2019 after his battle with cancer.

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