Taguiwalo rejected as social welfare chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2017 02:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 16 2017 07:27 PM

Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo answers questions before the Commission on Appointments at the Philippine Senate on Wednesday. George Calvelo. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - (UPDATED) Lawmakers on Wednesday rejected the appointment of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Majority of the members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) voted against Taguiwalo, according to Davao Oriental Representative Joel Almario, who led the confirmation hearings. 

He did not say how many voted in favor or if there were abstentions, but said they reached the required number of 13. 

Senators Ralph Recto, Loren Legarda, Miguel Zubiri, and Sonny Angara expressed support for Taguiwalo after Almario read the committee report, saying they voted for her confirmation.

Senator Francis Pangilinan also said all four Liberal Party senators voted for Taguiwalo's confirmation.

Taguiwalo, a former political detainee, was endorsed to the Cabinet by the Communist Party of the Philippines as President Rodrigo Duterte sought to broker a peace deal with leftist rebels.

The social welfare chief and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, also a nominee from the Left, were bypassed in March but were reappointed to their positions the following month.

After she was bypassed, Taguiwalo in May said lawmakers' postponement of her confirmation was a "form of torture," earning the ire of Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Lacson said he might change his mind in supporting Taguiwalo's confirmation if she would continue "intimidating" the commission, adding that the Cabinet official should "behave."

The senator, a former national police chief, earlier expressed support for Taguiwalo's confirmation even after he grilled her on her leftist background.

Taguiwalo and 3 other secretaries were bypassed again when Congress adjourned in June.

With Taguiwalo's rejection, only the Cabinet appointment of Mariano, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu remain pending before the CA.

Cimatu has not yet faced the commission since his appointment on May 8. He replaced former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, who cracked down on alleged unsafe mining practices in her 10 months in office.