What is the Commission of Appointments and How Powerful Is It?2
The CA is a constitutional body under the 1987 Constitution. It is an independent body separate and distinct from the Legislature, although its membership is confined to members of Congress.*
The CA does not curtail the President’s appointing authority but serves as a check against its abuse. It assures that the President has exercised the power to appoint wisely, by appointing only those who are fit and qualified…
‘Cognizant of the fact that the power of appointment is vested in the President of the Philippines, and that the President, in the exercise of that power, had carefully considered the fitness and qualifications of nominees or appointees, the Commission on Appointments shall accord the nomination or appointment weight and respect, to the end that all doubts should be resolved in favor of approval or confirmation.
‘On the other hand, the Commission, being part of our republican system of checks and balances, shall act as a restraint against abuse of the appointing authority, to the end that the power of disapproval should be exercised to protect and enhance the public interest.’
*Pimentel Jr. vs. Ermita (G.R. No 164978; 472 SCRA 587)
How is the Appointment Process done?2
The regular appointments which are contemplated under the 1987 Constitution go through the following stages:
- acceptance by the nominee
What the President sends to the Commission is just a nomination. After the Commission has given its consent, the President issues the appointment. It is only when the last stage has been completed may the officer concerned take his oath of office.
The second paragraph of Article VII, Sec. 16, of the 1987 Constitution also empowers the President to issue appointments while Congress is not in session. Such appointments are called ad interim appointments, and it goes through the following stages:
An ad interim appointment is permanent in nature and takes effect immediately. Thus, one who was issued an ad interim appointment may immediately enter upon the discharge of his functions. An ad interim appointment ceases to be valid upon disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or, if not confirmed, until the next adjournment of Congress.
Engaging in innuendo and intrigues, DENR Chief-apparent Lopez takes flak.
Lopez’s unfair remark is the “height of irresponsibility” and puts undue pressure on Commission on Appointments.
Lopez told members of the Rotary Club of Makati of an alleged bribe offer of P50 million for every CA member who would vote against her after she ordered the closure of 23 mines and the scrapping of 75 mining contracts. She did not name names, and neither did she say where she got the information. But she said then: “I was told every congressman was offered P50 million if they voted against me. Well, people talk. Let the dice fall where it may.”
However, Lopez on Thursday admitted that she could not substantiate her claim, stressing that she made the allegation “casually.”
But two CA members criticized Lopez on Thursday, accusing her of sowing intrigue ahead of the confirmation hearing.
“It is the height of irresponsibility,” said Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, the assistant minority leader on the CA, a constitutional body composed of senators and House members with the power to approve or disapprove appointments made by the President. “I was personally hurt by her statement,” Treñas told the Inquirer.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, the CA’s majority leader, said Lopez should name the people she claimed were involved in this “alleged attempted bribery” so they could face investigation. Otherwise, she was just “merely engaging in innuendo and intrigues,” Albano said.“Is that an example of how she will run the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) should she be confirmed?” he said.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said Lopez’s “unfair” remark “now puts undue pressure on the way they (the CA) will vote.”1
After the controversial bribery comment, Lopez sends a message to the CA in an interview with DZMM:
Meanwhile, the mining industry which has taken a beating since Lopez took office, is strongly against her confirmation. In a separate email sent by the Philippine Mining & Exploration Association (PMEA) on February 27 2017, the group listed down individuals and organizations against Lopez’s confirmation. The group put in detail strong grounds why Lopez is unfit for the position of DENR Chief.
Download the “Grounds for Opposition Against Regina Paz Lopez for the position of DENR Secretary” here: opposition-against-confirmation-of-denr-sec-lopez
Lopez who has been very vocal in her bias against mining, and through the nod of the Commission on Appointments, will stand to rid the country of employed miners estimated at 42.79% if she secures the cabinet post permanently.
The role of mining when it comes to employment generation whether direct or indirect in the rural areas cannot be overly emphasized. It is estimated that about four (4) indirect jobs may be generated from every direct employment in the upstream and downstream sectors. (source: MGB)
Confirmation hearings for the DENR post will commence on March 1, 2017.