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Focus on work, not ‘demolition’

As the Commission on Appointments starts their work on filtering nominees for government positions such as Cabinet secretaries, promotions of MUPs of military and police officials, the general impression is that senators and members of Congress will be out to draw blood, cause embarrassment or simply impress their power and authority over nominees and candidates.

Last Monday, I was at a dinner party attended by fellow columnists and PR professionals and businessmen, and they talked about incoming DA Secretary Francisco “Kiko” Laurel. The general impression was that he would be in for a beating and his principal tormentor would be Senator Cynthia Villar, who authored and pushed for the Rice Tariffication Law or RTL and who views the DA’s past performance as disappointing.

At an earlier event, the talk was about how another senator, Risa Hontiveros, allegedly had a bad impression on the management of the National Food Authority and how Hontiveros might also treat the NFA in an adversarial manner. This unfortunately might end up being a case of punishing the innocent for the sins of the past.

I have yet to hear about what Congress or Senate intends to do about the BAI or Bureau of Animal Industry, considering how their lack of initiative and action has led to the decimation of the Philippine hog industry as a result of ASF. While this also falls under Secretary Laurel’s responsibilities, fair play dictates that we don’t pin the blame on this Laurel, since he has yet to be confirmed by the CA before he can do his job!

Reflecting on the history of the Commission on Appointments, no one can argue the fact and general impression that hearings and interviews of the CA have been combative, accusatory and “investigative” and adversarial. One gets the impression that nominees are treated with suspicion, almost with a presumption of guilt, assumption of incompetence or simply bullied by those who have the power to delay or hold a person in contempt.

It is unfortunate that Congress and the Senate do not have an independent ombudsman who can call legislators out rather than be humiliated by Supreme Court decisions on abuse of authority or violating the check and balance of