By BENJIE OLIVEROS
Our dear Dis-honorable Congressmen of the Commission on Dis-Appointments must be patting each other at the back unabashedly, albeit secretly, after successfully removing Social Welfare Sec. Judy Taguiwalo from her post. And they didn’t even have the guts to explain their vote in public, opting to cast their votes in an executive session.
As of this writing, the Commission on Dis-Appointments has rejected three Cabinet secretaries of the Duterte administration: Perfecto Yasay, former Foreign Affairs secretary, Gina Lopez, former Environment secretary, and now Judy Taguiwalo.
The justification for Yasay’s rejection was his non-disclosure of his US citizenship. Fine.
The justification for rejecting the appointment of Gina Lopez was for allegedly violating due process in ordering the closure of the operations of 23 mining firms in watersheds. Due process? These mining firms have already profited billions of dollars from extracting minerals and destroying the environment. Everybody knows that the powerful mining lobby caused the rejection of Gina Lopez. Even President Duterte had a slip of the tongue when he was quoted saying that money talked in the rejection of Lopez.
The justification for the rejection of Social Welfare Sec. Judy Taguiwalo was…nil, nada.
Was there a case of gross inefficiency or abandonment of post by Taguiwalo? Nope. On the contrary, she worked hard to make the services of the DSWD more accessible to the poor and needy. The people’s experience in recent disasters, which occurred when Taguiwalo has been heading the DSWD, shows that the department has become more responsive.
Was there a corruption case involving Sec. Taguiwalo? Nope, on the contrary one of the main reasons why she was rejected, which our Dis-honorable Congressmen are too ashamed to admit, is that she removed their privilege, their pork barrel fund that was supposedly in the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Taguiwalo issued a memorandum that the approval of assistance should be based on the merits of the requests and not the signature of the endorsing Congressman.
DSWD officials and employees even attest to the simplicity of the lifestyle of Taguiwalo.
Sources reveal that the following voted against Taguiwalo:
1. 7th District of Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino
2. Davao Del Norte, 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.
3. Cebu, 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon
4. Davao Oriental, 2nd District Rep. Joel Mayo Almario
5. Occidental Mindoro, Lone District Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato
6. Party List – A TEACHER Rep. Julieta Cortuna
7. Isabela, 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Albano III
8. San Juan City, Lone District Rep. Ronaldo Zamora
9. Cavite, 5th District Rep. Roy Loyola
10. Valenzuela City, 1st District Rep. Wes Gatchalian
11. Sen. Gringo Honasan
12. Sen. Panfilo Lacson
13. Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao
14. Sen. Cynthia Villar
15. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III
It is worth noting that the first 12 names in the list (which are highlighted) also voted against the appointment of Gina Lopez. Shame on them!
Shame also on Pacquiao who came from the poor before he became rich out of boxing; Villar whose husband Manny packaged himself as coming from humble beginnings who rose up from poverty through “sipag at tiyaga” when he campaigned for the presidency; and Koko Pimentel whose father was a human rights lawyer during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship.
In his speeches, President Duterte curses a lot every time he felt that the Filipino people are being disadvantaged. Well, will he now curse these Dis-honorable Congressmen for rejecting one of the few bright spots in his Cabinet?
If he does not do anything about this and simply accepts the rejection of Taguiwalo, with nary a murmur, then indeed change has retreated and the trapos has triumphed once more.