MANILA, Philippines – The uncle of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo denied Wednesday blocking the secretary’s confirmation before the Commission on Appointments (CA).
Speaking to ABS-CBN, Camarines Sur 3rd district Rep. Luis Villafuerte Sr. said there was no official opposition before the CA against Robredo’s appointment since the latter had yet to be presented before the council.
“There was no opposition but there were complaints received by the secretariat, which were investigated,” he said. Villafuerte is a member of the CA.
He noted that Robredo served as DILG secretary in an acting capacity during his first year before being appointed by President Aquino as a permanent member of the Cabinet last November.
Villafuerte said he talked to Sen. Frank Drilon last July 24, who asked him to back Robredo’s confirmation.
The congressman said he tried to facilitate Robredo’s confirmation by presenting the DILG Secretary before the House contingent “para if they had any questions, they should do it outside of the hearings so that his confirmation will be unanimous.”
Robredo’s presentation before the CA was scheduled last August 14. However, the death of Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero postponed the presentation to August 29.
“August 29 is my birthday. It was supposed to be a birthday gift to him. Kinansel ko lahat ng appointments para maka-attend sa confirmation niya. It is not true that we were blocking his appointment,” Villafuerte said.
Robredo’s confirmation, however, would no longer push through after his plane crashed in waters off Masbate last Saturday. His corpse was recovered on Tuesday from the plane wreckage.
Villafuerte said Robredo’s death should not be sullied with finger-pointing. Earlier reports said Villafuerte had a falling-out with his nephew and had even fielded his own sister against Robredo in the 1992 mayoral elections in Naga City.
“In this time, dapat sana these are moments of prayer and grief and remembrance. Lahat ng mabubuting ginawa niya yun na lang ang alalahanin. Kalimutan na natin ang mga kakulangan niya dahil bigyan na lang natin siya ng tribute at commendation,” he said.
In the same interview, Senator Drilon said a posthumous confirmation for Robredo before the CA would no longer be feasible.
"Hindi na pwede i confirm kasi wala na tayong appointment na i-co-confirm because the holder of the position is no longer there," he said.
He added that finding a replacement for Robredo for the DILG post would be difficult. "He was a role model...in terms of transparency. Very amiable kahi sino pwede kausapin," he said.