Hours before his plane crashed on Saturday, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo met with some lawmakers to seek support for his confirmation as head of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
According to a notice posted by the Commission on Appointments (CA) committee on interior and local government at the Senate, Robredo's confirmation hearing was set on August 15 but was moved to August 29.
Robredo, his aide Senior Inspector Jun Abrasado, veteran pilot and flight instructor Jessup Bahinting and his Nepali co-pilot Kshitiz Chand, were aboard a Piper Seneca plane heading for Naga from Cebu when the plane crashed off Masbate Saturday.
Abrasado was rescued by local fishermen soon after the plane crashed on Saturday but the search continues for Robredo and his two other companions.
Meeting with Sen. Legarda, congressmen
Before Robredo went to Cebu for a conference on Saturday, he met with Senator Loren Legarda and some congressmen to ask for support at 8:00 a.m. that day, according to a GMA News report.
Legarda said Robredo explained to them what his plans and programs were for the department.
"Nakalulungkot dahil nakita ko lang si Secretary Robredo ng almusal ng alas otso y medya ng Sabado, siya'y nagpunta sa aking bahay kasama ang ibang mga kaibigan naming congressman ng Nationalist People's Coalition," Legarda told GMA News in a phone interview on Monday.
Legarda said she pledged support for Robredo's confirmation.
"Pinapagdasal ko na maging matagumpay ang search and rescue operations at magkaroon ng isang milagro o mirakulo at sana sila ay may pag-asa pang mabuhay mula sa crash ng Sabado," she said.
Postponement of CA hearing
Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III had said the congressmen members of the CA panel asked that the hearing be postponed last August 15 because they wanted to go to the Requiem Mass and necrological service for Sorsogon Rep. Salvador “Sonny” Escudero III, who passed away last week.
The Senate schedule that day was likewise packed, with a hearing on the proposed 2013 budget of the Commission on Elections and an inquiry into the hazing incidents in the country.
In an afternoon legislative session that day, Sen. Vicente Sotto III delivered the second part of his Turno En Contra against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
Robredo, former Naga City mayor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee, was appointed on July 9, 2010 and was among the last named to President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet.
After the government's botched handling of the August 23, 2010 Manila hostage-taking crisis, Robredo was just named as an Acting Secretary instead of being issued an “ad interim" appointment for transmittal to the CA.
Robredo was eventually submitted for confirmation to the CA but he was among the five Cabinet secretaries whose confirmation was bypassed by the CA after Congress adjourned its session last June 6.
The others were:
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez
Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman
They were all re-appointed last June 7, along with Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza.
The Commission on Appointments
The CA is composed of the Senate president as its head and 12 senators and 12 congressmen as its members.
Its duty is to confirm appointments made by the President of the Philippines: the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the Armed Forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, except those of the Ombudsman and Supreme Court justices.
The CA discusses and deliberates on nominations at the standing committee level and also at the plenary session.
Nominations or appointments may end up being confirmed, rejected or bypassed.
If bypassed, the President can choose to re-appoint the concerned officials to their post.
Section 16, Article VII of the Constitution gives the President the power to issue ad interim appointments while Congress is not in session.
According to the CA website, someone given an ad interim appointment may immediately enter upon the discharge of his functions.
However, an ad interim appointment ceases to be valid upon disapproval by the Commission on Appointments or, if not confirmed, until the next adjournment of Congress. - VVP, GMA News