CA CONFIRMS SIX ENVOYS AND 42 OTHER DFA SENIOR OFFICIALS
The confirmation of the nominations and ad interim appointments of 48 senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that was originally scheduled last week finally pushed through this time around as the Commission on Appointments (CA) gave them its consent today in its plenary session presided by President of the Senate/Chairman of the Commission Franklin M. Drilon.
Last week’s confirmation of their nominations and ad interim appointments was deferred when foreign affairs committee chair Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago walked out of the committee hearing after Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas’ raised an issue on the lack of quorum. Fariñas manifested that the committee cannot proceed unless there is a quorum which is provided for under Article 4, Section 2 of the CA Rules of the Standing Committees. Article IV entitled MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEES, Section 2 of the CA Rules provides that, “Quorum. A majority of all the members of each committee shall constitute a quorum to do business. However, ex officio members present may be considered in determining the existence of a quorum.” Defensor Santiago, however, replied that the presence of the committee chairperson is enough to call a quorum, a practice that has been observed by the committee for almost a decade that she has been its chair. She also referred to Article VI entitled INVESTIGATION OF THE COMMITTEES, Section 2 of the CA Rules of the Standing Committees that reads, “Quorum at Public Hearings. The presence of the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, or at least three (3) members, one of whom shall serve as Acting Chairman, shall be sufficient for the purpose of conducting public hearings and acting on motions and other incidents related thereto.” Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV, in an attempt to ease the tension over the discussion, moved for a suspension of the hearing but Defensor Santiago set the motion aside. “You are questioning my authority. I walk out of this hearing,” Defensor Santiago said, before tossing away some documents and banging the gavel to adjourn the proceedings.
Meanwhile, today’s continuation of the foreign affairs committee hearing had a calm and pleasant start as Fariñas greeted Defensor Santiago with a bouquet of flowers as an apparent gesture of apology and reconciliation after what had transpired in the previous hearing. In reply, Defensor Santiago, in her Twitter account posted “I humbly believe that there’s no need for apology on either side. Instead, as usual, I hold out the hand of friendship.” With all CA Members from the House contingent present during the hearing, Defensor Santiago proceeded to highlight the qualifications of each of the nominees and appointees and dispensed with the oppositions presented before the committee. Committee Vice Chair Sen. Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III recommended their confirmation to the plenary with no objections raised.
Leading the pack of DFA senior officials confirmed by the Commission were those of six envoys, namely, Melita S. Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, as Chief of Mission, Class I and as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Federal Republic of Germany, Maria Lumen B. Isleta, Chief of Mission, Class I, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Indonesia, Domingo P. Nolasco, as Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Italy with concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of San Marino, the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Malta, Wilfredo C. Santos, as Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Qatar, Nathaniel G. Imperial, as Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the State of Israel, and Belinda M. Ante, as Chief of Mission, Class II, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Among the other ad interim appointments approved were those of:
(With Requests from the DFA for Waiver of Personal Appearance)