The Commission on Appointments confirmed on Tuesday the ad interim appointments of Secretary Conrado Estrella III of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Secretary Antonia Loyzaga of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Secretary Christina Frasco of the Department of Tourism, and 62 military officials.
Estrella vowed before the CA that he will not be an “armchair” executive. “I shall bring the government closer to the people,” he said.
CA members acknowledged Estrella’s role in the one-year moratorium on unpaid land amortization of agrarian reform beneficiaries approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Meanwhile, Loyzaga assured the DENR will be under an ethical, science-informed, and risk-based stewardship and will be “inclusive, consultative, and transparent.”
“We will pursue these goals very carefully but also expeditiously,” she said.
On the other hand, Frasco said she is focused on using tourism as a major economic tool to contribute to the economic resurgence.
“Notwithstanding all the difficulties that the country has faced, all of the upheavals that our people have suffered through, none of these have served to dampen the beauty of our natural resources and none of these have served to diminish in any way the strength and spirit of Filipino people which we intend to herald under the helm of the Department of Tourism,” the former mayor of Liloan town in Cebu said.
Meanwhile, the 63 generals and senior officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including Col. Caesar Candelaria of the Medical Corps, hurdled the CA committee on national defense.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros questioned Candelaria’s alleged involvement in the fatal hazing of Cadet 4th Class Darwin Dormitorio resurfaced during the hearing.
Hontiveros grilled Candelaria for his “pending criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide about the case of hazing victim Darwin Dormitorio Jr.”
“The appointee was impleaded in his capacity as then commanding officer of the Philippine Military Academy Station Hospital, and for dismissing the visible yet severe physical condition of Dormitorio,” the senator said.
But Candelaria said that “it is not [their] task to know if the patient sustained the injuries from hazing or otherwise.”
“However, I personally have my regrets. The late cadet Dormitorio was our patient several times, and it is to our regret that in his demise, probably the multiple injuries he sustained were too much. However, the hospital, on our part, did our job, and due to the ongoing investigation right now, it points out that the doctors have done their best in managing the patient,” he said.