CA defers confirmation hearing of 2 ambassadors, 2 DFA officials

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2023 09:14 PM

MANILA — The Commission on Appointments’ (CA) foreign affairs panel on Wednesday deferred its deliberation anew on the ad interim appointment of Bienvenido Tejano as envoy to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Tejano first faced the powerful commission last February 22, where he was grilled by Sen. Risa Hontiveros regarding supposed cases that were filed against him. Tejano disputed such allegation.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Jr. likewise pressed Tejano on other cases allegedly filed against him, which the diplomat said were already dismissed.
During Wednesday’s continuation of Tejano’s nomination hearing, he was met by the filing of a written opposition paper by a certain Joan Ruth Tejano Rojero and her daughter Ilona.
The sworn opposition letter was submitted to the CA at 3:05 in the afternoon of March 7, CA Secretary Myra Villarica reported during the session.
Shortly after Tejano occupied the chair for nominees, Sen. Cynthia Villar immediately moved for the holding of an executive session given the confidentiality of the situation.

Hontiveros, who was set to grill Tejano on the filed opposition against him, agreed.
CA panel members spent more than an hour holding an executive session for Tejano’s nomination, which ended with committee chairman Sen. Jinggoy Estrada announcing the suspension of his appointment’s deliberation.
“There are sensitive issues that are needed to be discussed in an executive session. So we decided to suspend the nomination of Ambassador Tejano… This is regard to the sworn opposition filed by one of his relatives,” Estrada said.
Tejano is not yet bypassed, Estrada clarified.
“I might schedule it before we adjourn. On the 22nd (of March),” Estrada said.
Before this, the CA panel also discussed the nomination of Manuel Antonio Javier Teehankee as Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines for the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“One of the main functions in the WTO is to monitor, negotiate and implement those agreements that would ensure clear, trade agreements… Our main role in the WTO is to ensure our trade will remain open,” Teehankee told the committee when asked for his role as the country’s representative to the WTO.
Hontiveros still moved for the suspension of Teehankee’s nomination, citing her strings of questions reserved for the nominee and the calling of former government officials to check on the statements being made by Teehankee on the entered agreement of the Philippine government.

“I would like to allow us first to call former DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and others from the government’s economic team before this Commission to enlighten us as to this decision-making process... I would like to respectfully defer the consideration of the honorable ambassador’s appointment,” Hontiveros said.
The committee also suspended its discussion on the nomination of Foreign Affairs officials Rodrigo Catalan and Joyce Marie Joy Quiboy, who are both in their assigned countries and attended the hearing virtually.
“The committee has decided to suspend the deliberation of the confirmation of Ambassador Dondee Teehankee and Ambassador Bienvenido Tejano and two career officials until final notice,” Estrada said after leading the closed door meeting.