MANILA, Philippines — Activist lawmakers and organizations are batting for the confirmation of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who goes before the Commission on Appointments for the third and last time on Wednesday.
The so-called three-strike rule by the CA states that any presidential appointee bypassed three times by the body faces the prospect of rejection.
Taguiwalo is one of the leftists President Rodrigo Duterte named to his Cabinet.
“Isang malaking kawalan para sa pamahalaan at, higit sa lahat, sa mamamayan kung mawawala ang isang tulad ni Secretary Judy Taguiwalo sa DSWD (It will be a great loss for the government and, most of all, the people if someone like Secretary Judy Taguiwalo leaves the Department of Social Welfare and Development),” Gabriela party-list Representative Emmi De Jesus said.
De Jesus said the CA has no reason to reject Taguiwalo, who she pointed out has not been tainted by corruption as she fulfills her duties.
But the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan listed those it said wish to see Taguiwalo out of the DSWD:
- Lawmakers who want to get their hands on DSWD funds thus perpetuating the corruption-tainted pork barrel system.
- Neoliberal economic managers at odds with the left’s pro-people positions in the Cabinet.
- Militarists who think the DSWD is giving too much help to the marginalized sectors like the lumad, urban poor and others who are fighting for change.
- Enemies of peace who think that the peace talks are a waste of time and giving cabinet positions to leftists is a bad idea.
At the same time, Bayan said the matter of Taguiwalo’s confirmation or rejection was about Duterte “standing up for what’s right.”
“Will he stand up to the pork barrel lawmakers, neoliberal economic managers and pro-US militarists who want Judy out of the DSWD? Will he ask his allies in Congress to #ConfirmJudy? Or will he ‘bend the knee’ yet again to reactionary interests like he did during Gina’s confirmation?” Bayan said, the latter a reference to former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, who the CA rejected.
Aside from Taguiwalo, the CA has yet to act on the confirmation of another leftist, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, a former Armed Forces chief who Dutete appointed three months ago Lopez’s rejection.