Gazmin, De Jesus confirmed by CA
- Marvin Sy () - February 24, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed yesterday Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose de Jesus and six senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines led by chief of staff Gen. Ricardo David.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano had asked Gazmin to return for a second hearing, but the defense chief was spared from further questioning during yesterday’s CA hearing and was confirmed without any objection.

Gazmin was chief of the Presidential Security Group during the term of President Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.

Members of the House of Representatives contingent to the CA grilled De Jesus as the congressmen raised various issues including the radio frequency identification or RFID project of the Land Transportation Office, the review of the roll-on-roll-off (ro-ro) modular ports project and the relationship between the LTO and Stradcom Corp., the private firm that maintains the agency’s computer database.

The discussions on the concerns of the House contingent on the DOTC would have gone on even longer had Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who serves as chairman of the CA, not instructed his colleagues to thresh out the issues in a caucus and decide if De Jesus would be confirmed or not.

De Jesus gave his commitment to reimburse all of the collections made on the RFID, which was never fully implemented by the LTO due to public outcry.

The implementation of the RFID, the electronic tagging of all motor vehicles, was suspended following fears that the project would be an encroachment on privacy.

De Jesus also vowed to address the concerns of the legislators on the Stradcom issue.

The LTO had been embroiled in the corporate dispute between two groups claiming ownership of Stradcom Corp., the information technology provider of the agency.

The failed takeover of a rival faction of the Stradcom facility last December resulted in a seven-hour disruption of LTO services nationwide.

De Jesus was public works secretary during the administrations of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos and he had held various executive positions at the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., Manila Electric Co., and the Manila North Tollways Corp. Also confirmed during yesterday’s hearing was the promotion of six senior officers of the AFP.

David, set to retire on March 8, was promoted to four-star general, which would grant him bigger benefits upon retirement.

The other officers confirmed were Lt. Gen Juancho Sabban, Lt. Gen. Eduardo Oban, Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz, Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan Jr. and Vice Admiral Mario Catacutan.

Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva was included in the list of officers supposed to be confirmed by the CA but according to Enrile, some of the CA members wanted to ask him some questions in a future hearing.

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARTURO ORTIZ CORY AQUINO AND FIDEL RAMOS DE JESUS DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN EDUARDO OBAN GAUDENCIO PANGILINAN JR. AND VICE ADMIRAL MARIO CATACUTAN GAZMIN GEN JUANCHO SABBAN LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE STRADCOM CORP
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