PASAY CITY -– Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman still failed to get confirmation of the Commission on Appointments (CA) despite the presence of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago at the CA’s hearing on Wednesday.
”I would be requesting one or two more hearings because we have to give way to the next hearing for the other nominee,” Santiago said during the CA’s last hearing session for this year.
The CA earlier deferred Soliman’s confirmation upon the request of Santiago who was out of the country at the time.
Santiago questioned Soliman about her alleged involvement in the Caucus of NGO Networks (Code NGO) that benefited from the Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates (PEACe bonds) in 2001. The Code NGO, formerly headed by Soliman, allegedly earned a P1.4-billion commission from the P10-billion PEACe bonds.
Santiago also questioned the “sole authority” given to the DSWD chief to manage the poverty-alleviation conditional cash transfer (CCT) program which has allotted a budget of P39 billion for 2012 or an increase of P18 billion from this year’s budget.
The senator said she received information that Soliman will be using the program in her preparation for the 2013 and 2016 senatorial elections.
Soliman vehemently denied it, saying she has no plans to enter politics.
The feisty lady lawmaker has even threatened to invoke, if necessary, Section 20 of the CA rules to block the confirmation of Soliman. Section 20 is a provision that can kill any nomination during the plenary session.
”I’m not satisfied with her answer,” Santiago, who was recently elected as judge of the prestigious International Criminal Court (ICC), said.
With the Senate set to take its annual Christmas break this week, Santiago said Soliman was “technically bypassed” but need not to be reappointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Meanwhile, the CA confirmed the ad interim appointment of Christian Robert Lim as commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
No members of the CA opposed the appointment of Lim whose term will end on February 2, 2018.