MANILA - Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo is standing by her comment that the Commission on Appointments' postponement of her confirmation is a "form of torture" even after a lawmaker threatened to withdraw his support because of it.
"That is the reality if you are in my place. Sabi nila 'Ma'am nakapila'... May effect 'yan kasi you cannot make long term plans," she told reporters on Thursday.
(That is the reality if you are in my place. They kept on saying, 'Ma'am it's in the pipeline.' That has an effect because you cannot make long term plans.)
"Ang tinitignan naman nila competence. I was recommended by NDF (National Democratic Front). Naging corrupt ba 'ko? Namili ba 'ko ng bibigyan ng tulong?," she added.
(They're looking at competence. I was recommended by the NDF. Have I been corrupt? Did I only choose who to help?)
After lawmakers on Wednesday deferred anew her confirmation due to a lack of time, Taguiwalo said the CA and its members subjected her to "form of torture" when she is "very willing to submit to their questioning and answer all of them."
Senator Panfilo Lacson then 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" if she is seeking the lawmakers' votes.
During Taguiwalo's confirmation earlier this month, Lacson expressed support for the appointee's confirmation even after he grilled her on her Leftist background.
Taguiwalo was nominated to the position by the Communist Party of the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would be willing to let the Leftist group's nominees lead four departments if they would join his government.
In the interview, Taguiwalo asserted that she is a "public servant recommended by NDF," and she understands that her confirmation has to go through a process, but she does not understand "why it's taking so long."
"Tatlo na lang kami--(Agrarian Secretary Rafael) Mariano, ako, at (Health Secretary Paulyn) Ubial. But I congratulate Alan Peter Cayetano." she said, referring to the three other Cabinet officials whose confirmation are still pending and the newly confirmed Foreign Affairs Secretary.
CA member Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon insisted that they did not mean to delay Taguiwalo's confirmation but "the problem was, the opposition to Secretary Ubial took all the time."
- with a report by Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News