Opposition lawmaker calls for better vetting of Marcos appointees

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2022 11:12 AM | Updated as of Oct 05 2022 12:07 PM

MANILA — The top opposition lawmaker in the House of Representatives on Wednesday called for better vetting of Cabinet members following the resignation of several appointees of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. before he marked his 1st 100 days in office. 

While the President has the power to appoint members of his Cabinet, he should be "discerning and cautious... because public funds must not be wasted on the emoluments of undeserving functionaries," Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement.

“When Cabinet secretaries so early in their tenure vacate their posts, either voluntarily or forcibly, then the vetting process on their appointments is grossly wanting. The qualification, character, and integrity of presidential appointees reflect on the wisdom or caprice of the appointing authority.” said Lagman, who is the new president of the Liberal Party. 

Lagman added that though partisan credential influences appointments, it must not be “ascendant to talent, merit, and experience.”

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles and Commission on Audit chairman Jose Calida resigned from their posts due to health reasons, Malacañang said on Tuesday. 

In September, longtime Marcos aide Victor Rodriguez also stepped down as executive secretary, weeks after he was tagged in the Sugar Regulatory Administration's supposedly illegal go signal for imports. 

But House Ways and Means Committee chairman and Albay Second District Rep. Joey Salceda believes that Marcos made “competent appointments.” 

“Overall, the President's first 100 days have been a stabilizing period, amid global disruption. I look forward to working with out President on all his key legislative priorities,” he said.

For Salceda, the President is treading carefully but decisively on critical areas, including agricultural imports, tax policy, and the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But he said Marcos could work on 4 areas that would propel his reform agenda, including foreign equity restrictions on renewable energy, offshore gaming regulation, the transition from pandemic to endemic stage, and improving the country's capacity to earn dollars.