Senate President Vicente Sotto III defended his colleague Senator Gringo Honasan from questions about his qualifications to lead the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).
But the Senate leader also raised the possibility that Honasan might be appointed to a different post by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Reacting to questions about Honasan not meeting the requirement in the DICT law of having seven years experience in telecommunication, the Senate leader said Honasan was more than qualified for the job.
“Pinag-usapan namin nung isang araw yan, pasok na pasok,” he said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum.
“Si Senator (Ping) Lacson mismo nag point out eh nung mga background nya, yung technicalities ng secretary ng DICT. Meron. Ang akala nila kasi, ang akala ng karamihan nung bumasa ng batas, masyadong tight, focused dun sa sinasabi, laman. It’s not necessarily na dapat may seven-year background sa telecommunication,” Sotto said.
“Not exactly that. They could have seven years or 10 years background in intelligence communications di ba and different types of communication techniques. He will more than suffice as far as his qualifications are concerned,” he said.
Sotto also dismissed questions about Honasan being unqualified as a result of a constitutional restriction on lawmakers running an agency that was created by Congress during their incumbency.
“Eh di sabihin nila sa Commission on Appointments when we hear his ano. Kung meron silang mga concern then dalhin nila sa Commission on Appointments when we hear his nomination,” he said.
Honasan was appointed last year and was supposed to be confirmed by the Commission on Appointments in December, but he was bypassed as a result of interparliamentary wrangling over the 2019 budget.
Asked when Honasan would be confirmed, Sotto joked: “Baka sa August. I’m joking.”
“We’ll see. I don’t know. The President still has to nominate him again because he was bypassed. He was bypassed Dec. 12 di ba? So that means he has to be nominated again. Eh malay mo he might be nominated to another post,” he said.
Sotto, however, played coy when asked what other possible positions might be in store for Honasan.
“Ewan ko. Tanungin nyo si Senator Lacson. Wala akong sinabi huh,” he said.
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