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National

Aquino to Santiago: Blocking confirmation of 3 Cabinet members should have basis

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

President Benigno Aquino III reminded Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that her moves to block the confirmation of three Cabinet members should have basis.

"That is up to her. But I hope there will be due process where there are rules and regulations that have to be followed as well by members of the legislative branch. We hope there is basis (for Santiago's statement)," Aquino said in an interview in Lucena City on Monday.

Aquino made these remarks on Monday after Santiago accused the three Cabinet members of snubbing Friday's hearing on alleged anomalous contracts entered into by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Santiago said she will veto the appointments of incoming Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Environment chief Ramon Paje, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for skipping the Senate probe on resigned DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. also did not attend the hearing, but he has long been confirmed by the bicameral Commission on Appointments.

But the President insisted that his Cabinet officials did not snub the hearing and merely wanted to be informed of the scope of questions that they will have to answer.

"It is not right that we did not cooperate. I think the record will show that we have always cooperated (with the legislative branch)," Aquino said.

"All that we are saying is that there is a provision under Article VI of the Constitution, Section 22, that if you call the alter ego ofthe President, the executive branch has the right to know what questions will be asked so that are officials come prepared instead of saying 'I don't know' when they are asked as resource persons," the President added.

Aquino also expressed confidence that Roxas will be able to hurdle the CA despite Santiago's pronouncements.

Santiago, for her part, said she could invoke Section 20 of the commission’s rules to singlehandedly block the confirmation of any presidential appointee.

"The only way they can stop me is by having me shot, or having me shipped off to the ICC," she said, referring to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands to which she has been assigned.

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