De Lima's first confirmation hearing set on June 4

By Marvin Sy, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 24 2014 09:48 AM | Updated as of May 24 2014 05:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will finally have her first confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments on June 4, almost four years since she was appointed by the President.

The CA hearing of De Lima comes amid the pork barrel fund scam, which her office is investigating, leading to the recommendation of plunder charges against three senators.

In the previous Congress, De Lima was never scheduled for her confirmation hearing by the CA.

The previous CA committee on justice and Judicial and Bar Council chairman former senator Joker Arroyo noted then that the members of the commission were offended by the reported refusal of De Lima to follow a long-standing tradition for nominees to make courtesy calls on their respective offices.

This time around, the current chairman of the committee, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, said that he was given the green light to push through with the confirmation hearing of De Lima.

He said that he has not heard of any objections from the members of the committee, but he would meet with them on Wednesday to discuss De Lima’s confirmation one more time.

“Nobody has indicated that they have changed their minds so it’s still a green light as far as I’m concerned,” Pimentel said.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of the senators accused of plunder in connection with the pork barrel scam, said that he would attend the hearing of De Lima to ask her some questions.

But Estrada, who has expressed his frustration with De Lima before, said that he would not block her confirmation.

While De Lima appears to have a clear path ahead in her confirmation hearing, she would still have to face former Siquijor Rep. Orlando Fua and Ma. Virginia Libunao, a former immigration officer, who filed sworn oppositions against her appointment.

Apart from De Lima, the CA has also scheduled confirmation hearings for Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza, Civil Service Commission commissioner Nieves Osorio, and Commission on Elections commissioner Ma. Gracia Cielo Padaca.

Mendoza last appeared before the CA on March 4 but her confirmation was deferred because several legislators still had questions for her.

A number of Cabinet members are still up for confirmation by the CA, namely Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.