CA approves appointments of DOJ, DILG chiefs; sets another hearing for DOLE head

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2022 08:31 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2022 12:29 PM

Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos and Justice Secretary Boying Remulla. Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB
Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos and Justice Secretary Boying Remulla. Albert Calvelo/Senate PRIB

MANILA — Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla and Interior Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos, Jr. on Wednesday secured the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments (CA) following interpellation by members of the powerful panel. 

Meanwhile, Labor Secrertary Bienvenido Laguesma's confirmation was deferred in order for him to answer more questions from legislators after some groups accused him of being a "union-buster."

DOJ

During the hearing, Remulla was asked about updates on the charges against former Sen. Leila de Lima and his views on the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) tasked to recover ill-gotten wealth by the family of now President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

Remulla reiterated his proposal to expand the scope of PCGG's mandate beyond the Marcoses, as he acknowledged that its abolition requires action from both chambers of Congress.

"Ang PCGG ay isang parte ng gobyerno na binabanggit sa transitory provisions ng ating Saligang Batas. Kaya ng abolisyon nito ay kailangan talaga ang dalawang Kamara ay magkasundo, kung ito ay tapusin na ang buhay ng PCGG," he said in response to a question from Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

"Thirty six years na ang nakakaraan... Marahil ay dapat... palakihin natin ang papel ng PCGG upang meron pa itong ibang magawa sa kaniyang opisina, kundi habulin lang ang isang pamilya... Sana mas magamit ito ng ating republika sa kabutihan din ng ating republika," he added. 

"Kaya ang suggestion ko na ito ay gawing fitted assets management office kasi dito nasanay ang PCGG, para makinabang tayo sa karanasan ng PCGG sa pag-handle ng ganitong mga assets," Remulla added.

Remulla also said the Department of Justice (DOJ) would ensure the speedy trial of De Lima, who has been detained over drug-related charges.

"Hindi po natin pababayaan na mag-delay ang prosecution. In fact, 'yan ay rule ng justice system natin, na for every day that it is delayed, we lose a witness. Kaya hindi po trabaho ng DOJ na i-delay ang kaso, dahil hihina ang kaso," he said.

As to his view about the Philippines reacquiring the status of being a party to the Rome Statute, Remulla said the decision rests on the president although, for him, "since we have a functional justice system, we're not really too desperate to come out and be part of the Rome Statute."

Former President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the Philippines' membership in the International Criminal Court amid efforts by victims of his deadly war on drugs for the court to investigate him.

DILG

Meanwhile, Abalos was asked to clarify his pronouncement to sustain the past administration’s controversial war on drugs but with a new approach.

According to the head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, he meant that "all operations will be in accordance with law."

"Kung gusto natin tanggalin ito, let’s look at the roots, unemployment, poverty, social ills. So we harness the grassroots, we harness the school, the community, the church, everyone. And that’s what we are going to do," Abalos said.

During the CA plenary session later in the afternoon, the two Cabinet officials were officially confirmed.

The CA Committee on Labor, Employment, Social Welfare and Migrant Workers, meanwhile, will continue its hearing on the appointment of Laguesma on Sept. 20.


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