MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Wednesday the appointment of Senator Gregorio Honasan as head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) may come as early as Monday, November 12.
Appearing at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum in Manila City, Sotto said Honasan’s impending appointment to the DICT has been discussed during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte last October 29.
Besides Sotto, present in the said meeting were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
“It was discussed, napag-usapan yun na kung puwede, November 12 na si Greg (if it is possible that Greg be appointed on November 12),” Sotto said.
He said the date of Honasan’s appointment was discussed to avoid an ad interim appointment.
“In other words, pag na-confirm siya at nag oath siya, saka na lang siya mag-resign (when he is already confirmed and has taken his oath, that’s the time he would resign). When we resume next week, he would still be in the Senate,” Sotto said.
Under Article VII, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution, presidential appointments when Congress is in session are called regular appointments or nominations.
Meanwhile, appointments made while Congress is in recess are known as ad interim appointments.
In regular appointments, what the President sends to the Commission on Appointments (CA) is just a nomination.
After the CA has given its consent, the President issues the appointment. It is only when the last stage has been completed may the officer concerned takes his oath of office.
On the other hand, an ad interim appointment is permanent in nature and takes effect immediately.
So, the one who was issued an ad interim appointment may immediately enter upon the discharge of his functions.
An ad interim appointment ceases to be valid upon disapproval by the CA or, if not confirmed, until the next adjournment of Congress.
Sotto expressed optimism that once formally nominated, Honasan’s appointment as DICT secretary would breeze through the CA before Congress adjourns on December 15.
“We have a tradition in the CA, kapag ikaw ay (if you are a) former member of Senate you, will be given courtesy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sotto said Honasan’s departure would be a big loss to the Senate.
“You’ve seen how he handles his committees,” he said.
Honasan chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security as well as the Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.
However, Sotto said the Senate’s loss would be the DICT’s gain.
“He would be an asset in the DICT, kasi ang malaking factor dun ang (because the big factor there is the) national security, even (in) the entry of a third telco,” the Senate President said.
He said his fellow senators could only take consolation on the fact that Honasan’s appointment to the DICT would mean that the graduating lawmaker would not be totally out of their sphere. Honasan would end his second six-year term on June 2019.
“On the other hand, he would not totally disappear because he will transfer to the Executive Department. It is better than him disappearing when his term ends in 2019, and then we would not be with him anymore,” Sotto said.
“Every now and then, pwede namin siya patawag at pagalitan namin (we can still summon him and scold him),” Sotto said in jest, referring to Honasan’s transfer to the Executive Department. PNA-northboundasia.com