MANILA -- The Commission on Appointments (CA) has confirmed on Wednesday the ad interim appointment of seven ambassadors and 86 military officers.
Former Department of Transportation (DOTr) secretary Arthur Tugade was included in the confirmed appointees as a reserve colonel of the Philippine Air Force.
Senator Bong Go lauded the accomplishments of the 77-year old Tugade, including the Build, Build, Build Program of the DOTr during the Duterte administration.
“Even though his hands were full, nag-commit siya, nag-training at gumawa ng thesis saludo po ako sa'yo sir,” Go said.
Included in the 86 military officials confirmed were Brigadier Generals Antonio Rota, Ma. Dolores Lim, Aldrin Annani, Michele Anayron, Donald Gumiran, Benjamin Hao, Erwin Victoriano Machica; Major Generals Fernando Reyeg and Ferdinand Barandon.
The seven ambassadors confirmed were Henry Bensurto, Jr. (Republic of Turkey), Raul Hernandez (Oman), Carlos Sorreta (United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland), Renato Villa (Saudi Arabia), Paul Raymund Cortes (Portuguese Republic), Josel Ignacio (India) and Maria Angela Ponce (Malaysia).
Meanwhile, CA member Rep. Rodante Marcoleta grilled one of the appointees Bensurto, who was part of the team that gave the Philippines its victory by the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the West Philippine Sea.
“It is as if that we filed a complaint without asking the court to do anything for us, meaning to say the complainant just filed a case but the court is limited to just declaring something, but because we did not ask for anything, let us say asking China to leave the occupied islands or rocks or shoals in the Spratly's, we did not ask anything from the court so what happened there," said Marcoleta.
Bensurto, however, emphasized on the gains of the Philippines such freedom of navigation and upholding the rule of law.
“In the past, whereas more than 500,000 square kilometers of EEZ and another more than 500,000 square kilometers of continental shelf, that’s about a million square kilometers of continental shelf and EEZ most of these now are no longer disputed because of the ruling,” Bensurto said.
CA member Sen. Risa Hontiveros likewise noted that more countries and organizations are recognizing the ruling such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Moving forward, also noting that country after country, parami nang parami 'yung bilang ng kumikilala ng ating tagumpay sa Hague tribunal. Most recently, a whole formation of NATO,” Hontiveros said.
Senate President and CA member Juan Miguel Zubiri reported that for the 19th Congress, the commission has approved 597 nominations and appointments, including 20 cabinet members, 452 officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 119 officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs, one from the Judicial and Bar Council, and five from Constitutional Commissions.