The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday suspended considerations of the interim appointment of Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Department of Energy Sec. Raphael Lotilla.
Their confirmation hearings were suspended “:due to lack of time.”
Prior to the suspension, the CA members grilled Pascual over his qualifications as DTI secretary.
The panel scrutinized Pascual based on complaints by employees of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).
Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel was the first to question Pascual about the complaints sent to the CA by PEZA employees against the new PEZA deputy director general Tereso Panga.
Panga terminated contractual employees, placed on floating permanent employees and demoted long-time PEZA employees.
Pimentel said the first action of Panga was to padlock the office of director. Charito Planas which trigged chaos within the facility.
Pimentel asked Pascual what he was doing with the issue.
But Pascual said he learned of the problem only at the CA hearing, adding he was not the one who assigned Panga as officer-in-charge
“These matter of employees having complaints is coming to my attention only now. I have not had any reports from the employees directly when these things were happening. Now that I am aware of this, we will investigate and see how we can address the problem. I understand the case is already with civil service commission,” Pascual said.
If Panga has accountability for his actions, Pascual said the official should be held accountable.
However, Pimentel said he believed Panga would not have done it without Pascual’s orders.
Since the complaints of the employees have been there for four months already, Pimentel said it was unbelievable that the DTI secretary did not know about it.
“Is he God at PEZA? Is he God to do that? I think the secretary has within his power and authority to correct, remedy the situation. You are oppressing already the employees,” Pimentel asserted.
Meanwhile, the hearing on Lotilla’s interim appointment will resume on Wednesday.