Taguiwalo considers rejection as ‘badge of honor’

MANILA -- Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo on Wednesday said that although she was hopeful that she would get confirmed by the Commission on Appointments (CA), she had already prepared herself for rejection.

I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst, Taguiwalo said in a press conference after the CA rejected her appointment as Secretary of the agency.

Taguiwalo said that if the CA based her appointment on competence, integrity and her track record alone, she would have been appointed.

Although disappointed, she also said that she believed the CA rejection did not reflect the views of the people who supported her.

She cited three reasons that may have led the CA to decide to reject her confirmation -- her reservations against the Duterte administration's proposed tax reform package, her stand against pork barrel and her being a former member of the National Democratic Front (NDF), negotiating arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Taguiwalo has repeatedly expressed reservations against the tax reform noting that it would have negative effects on the poor. However, she said that she was willing to implement it once it becomes a law.

She also stood against pork barrel noting that several congressmen and women continued to approach her claiming they had a share of the DSWD budget to implement projects.

Meron silang sinasabi na 'may pera ako diyan', e hindi 'yan ayon sa batas. Wala akong ginagawa na masama, ang ginawa ko tumindig ako sa desisyon ng Supreme Court na walang pork dapat (They tell me 'I have a share there' but it's not according to the law. I wasn't doing anything wrong, the only thing I did was stand by the decision of the Supreme Court that there should no longer be pork), Taguiwalo said.

Ang pondo ng DSWD ay common fund at hindi entitlement ni congressman o congresswoman (The funds of the DSWD are common funds and not the entitlement of a congressman or congresswoman), she added.

Asked if there were congressmen who were members of the CA, she did not directly answer but admitted that it was a general trend among some of them.

Taguiwalo also said her links to the NDF could have also been a reason for the CA rejection particularly reports that the DSWD provided assistance to armed rebels when she was really assisting lumad groups.

May mga nag intriga na nagbigay ng malisya sa pagbigay ng pagtulong sa mga lumad, sila raw ay NPA (New People's Army). Sinabi ko na ang mga binigyan naming ng tulong ay hindi armado, naging biktima sila ng bakwit at mandata nila ang tulungan nila (There were some who saw malice in our providing help for lumads, claiming they were members of the NPA. I said that those we helped were not armed but evacuees and it was our mandate to help them), she added.

Meanwhile, she also expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for giving her the opportunity to lead the DSWD and lauded him for being the only President so far to allow members of the CCP-NDP.

I acknowledge that President Duterte has so far been the only President to give space to members of the left. I'm just sad that it was such a short engagement. I would have wanted to see through the reforms he wanted through remaining years of his administration, Taguiwalo said.

The former DSWD Secretary also said that she believed the peace process under the Duterte administration has been the most advanced among administrations and expressed hope that it would continue.

She also said that it was a badge of honor to be rejected the same way as former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez as they both stood by their integrity and could never be labeled as corrupt.

Source: Philippine News Agency