MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila De Lima is hesitant to honor a long-standing 'tradition' of the Commission on Appointments (CA) -- that of paying a call to each of its members. This is in spite of reports her refusal to do so has stalled her confirmation for two years now.
De Lima said she was unaware of such 'tradition,' and saw no reason why she should talk to each CA member when they could field all their questions to her during her confirmation hearing.
Her reaction came in the wake of remarks made by CA Justice Committee chairman Sen. Joker Arroyo that her hearing has not been calendared because she has not yet paid calls to the members.
To sort the confusion out, De Lima said she will talk with Arroyo.
"Unang una, hindi ko alam na there is such a tradition. I know that there are certain candidates for confirmation ng CA na, on their own, they talk to some members of CA, but I didn’t know that it was tradition. If I can avoid it, I will avoid it. Di ako ganun eh, I don’t know why do I have to do that, isa-isahin sila.
"If they have questions to me pwede bang doon na lang sa hearing? But I don’t want to sound, baka sabihin, arogante ako or what, I just feel na what is that tradition for? Pero kung yan ang advise sa akin ni Sen. Joker kasi baka nga di ako isalang kung di ko ginagawa yan, but I think I need to talk first with Sen. Joker and ask exactly kung kailangan ko bang gawin yun kasi ilan na lang kaming natitira baka ako ang last," De Lima said.