MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang confirmed that President Aquino will not issue another ad interim appointment for Comelec Commissioner Gus Lagman after having been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said that this was after the Palace has been advised by some lawmakers, including House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales, that Lagman will have difficulty to get the nod of most of the CA members.
Carandang said that the Palace decision was reached in consultation with Lagman and that it was “a mutual decision.”
“They were fairly confident, ang sabi nila, that Gus Lagman would be rejected by the Commission on Appointments if we insisted on appointing him and so in consultation with Commissioner Lagman, we decided [that] instead of having him go through that whole—sometimes painful—process, only to be rejected, we felt it’s better, and mutually agreed, that we would just not reappoint him,” Carandang told reporters.
Not linked to Corona trial
But Carandang stressed that the withdrawal of Lagman’s appointment has nothing to do with the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
It is being alleged that the move was supposedly to appease Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who is against Lagman’s appointment reportedly over Lagman’s role in the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) quick count during the 1987 elections where Enrile placed 24th or last among the winning senatorial candidates.
“It’s not related to… the impeachment,” Carandang said.
Carandang said the President may already have “some names in consideration” to replace Lagman at the Comelec but said he is not aware of any specific candidate.
Asked why the President is not withdrawing the nomination of Cabinet secretaries who also have had difficulty passing the CA, Carandang said there is a difference between appointments to the cabinet and to an independent constitutional body.
“With the Cabinet, the President has to have the people that he is comfortable with, who have been tested. Iba e. These people would be working directly with the President everyday on many sensitive issues. It’s not the same with [a] constitutional body,” he said.
Carandang said it’s possible that Lagman may be appointed to another position, saying there was never an issue about Lagman’s competence.
Lagman took his oath before President Aquino on May 3, 2011