My Legal Point
By Atty. Bayan G. Balt
Newly elected Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Fernandez Zubiri graduated from the University of the Philippines Los Baños with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management. He played a key role in bypassing the confirmation of Pres. DU30’s nominees to the three (3) constitutional offices before the Commission on Appointments (CA). The grandstanding Senator argues, that during a discussion with Pres. Elect Marcos, Jr. cabinet’s officials they broached the possibility of letting the president-elect make his own picks for the constitutional body positions.
Zubiri even argued that back in February 2016, then-Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile tried to block the confirmation of five diplomats and two CSC appointees. He was quoted as saying “Why not leave that to the incoming president? He is outgoing. Why is he appointing his representatives that will last in their positions for three years, depriving the next president of the right of choosing his own representatives?” Enrile, as quoted by Zubiri, had said back then.
The good Senator successfully convinced his peers to bypassed Pres. Duterte’s nominees, by simply not acting on their appointments submitted to the CA, as some members did not show up in the meeting. The good senator must be told that the Constitution obliged them to act on all appointments submitted to the CA while their Rules is govern by majority rule. The CA members may have abdicated their mandate when they failed to show up in the confirmation meeting.
On the contrary, Ambassadors are representative of the country and maybe personally chosen by the President, this is not true with Constitutional offices that are supposed to be independent and enjoy fiscal autonomy. Some asked, how can Senator Zubiri succumb to the advice of Pres. Elect Marcos, Jr. alleged cabinet officials’ advice to bypassed Pres. Duterte nominees, paving for Pres. Elect Marcos, Jr. to appoint officials in said vacated constitutional offices. The reason is simple, the good Senator lost his respect to outgoing Pres. Duterte, whom he owed his popularity and elections winnings. Invoking respect to outgoing President Duterte, Senator Bato said. “econfirms ninyo iyan, kami nuung papasok ang administrasyon ni Duterte, hindi namin hinarang ang mga nominees ni Pinoy.” (Please confirm them, when the Duterte administration begins, we did not prevent the nominees of pres. Pinoy).
The great Maranao people from Marawi City and Lanao del Sur voted for Sen. Zubiri in the last elections. The good Senator garnered 20, 608 votes in Marawi City and 153,000 votes in the province of Lanao del Sur, placing No. 3 after Muslims senatorial candidates Padilla and Gutuc., simply he is a Mindanaoan. Unfortunately, he put down one qualified Mindanaoan in the person of Lawyer Saidamen B. Pangarungan nominated as COMELEC Chief.
In his statement, the bypassed COMELEC Chief said, “The Comelec has “successfully defended the sovereign right of suffrage of the Filipino people” with the highest voter turnout in Philippine election history at 83.07 percent. Pangarungan further said that the recent elections were also “the most peaceful election” with only 27 election related incidents (ERI) compared to 66 ERI in 2019 and 167 in the 2016 election. He credited this to the peace covenant among candidates in election hotspots nationwide, including Abra, Samar, Marawi and Basilan.
“We had the record-breaking speed of transmission of election results to the Transparency Server before 12 midnight of election day, and the fastest proclamation of winning senators, the President and Vice president, and our party-list representatives,” the outgoing chairman said.
Sen. Zubiri disregard of outgoing President Duterte’s qualified nominees maybe an arrogance or ignorance, not being a Lawyer without enough grasp of our laws, the good senator Zubiri should have return back to farming in Bukidnon, after all he is a graduate of Agribusiness while his expertise in agriculture maybe a big help to our farmers. Otherwise, the Senate will not be in good hands under his leadership, some spectator’s claims.
Now the Filipino people are pondering, will President Elect Marcos, Jr. inevitable appointment of top officials of the constitutional offices start a grip of powers or some says is this the beginning of dictatorship and eventual declaration of martial law. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.
For comment at: firstname.lastname@example.org Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015) Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement (RFSM) and President of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).