Honasan may be appointed to other agencies with DICT nomination in limbo

Published January 10, 2019, 8:21 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that Senator Gregorio Honasan II may be appointed to other agencies as the latter’s nomination at the Department to Information and Communications Technology (DICT) remains in limbo.

Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sotto raised the possibility during a news forum in Senate Thursday after he was asked when the Commission on Appointment (CA) will discuss his close friend’s nomination to the DICT.

The Senate chief, who is also concurrent CA chairman, bared that Honasan was bypassed by the appointments body when Congress adjourned last December.

The Senate was occupied with their marathon sessions on the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget; as well as the joint session on the Mindanao martial law extension.

The Senate chief said the CA has to wait anew for the Palace’s endorsement of Honasan’s nomination before it can again take it up.

“We’ll see. I don’t know. The President still has to nominate him again because he was bypassed. He was bypassed Dec. 12 right? So that means he has to be nominated again. Eh malay mo, he might be nominated to another post,” Sotto told reporters.

Honasan has yet to assume his post as DICT Secretary since President Duterte signed his appointment paper in November last year. He is expected to vacate his post in the Senate once the CA confirms his nomination.

Reports earlier said Honasan will lead the DICT early this year.

“Well, in a way, sana ‘yon ang plano (that was the plan). Eh kaso (But), some things turned up,” Sotto said.

Sotto said it is “possible” that Honasan may be nominated to other agencies.

But when pressed to confirm if Honasan is being considered for another Cabinet post, Sotto refused to comment further.

“Ewan ko (I don’t know). Tanungin nyo si (Ask) Sen. [Panfilo] Lacson,” he said, pointing to another friend in the so-called “Macho Bloc” in the Senate.

Lacson and Honasan have yet to respond to media queries about Sotto’s statements.

Sotto, meanwhile, maintained that Honasan is qualified to be DICT chief amid requirements under the DICT law.

“Pinag-usapan namin nung isang araw yan, pasok na pasok. Si Sen. Lacson mismo nag point out ng mga background nya, ‘yong technicalities ng secretary ng DICT. Meron (We talked about that just recently, he is very qualified. Sen. Lacson pointed out his background and the technicalities of being the DICT secretary),” Sotto said.

Sotto said the DICT law “does not necessarily” require that a Secretary has seven-year background in the telecommunications field.

“Not exactly that. They could have seven years or 10 years background in intelligence communications and different types of communication techniques. He (Honasan) will more than suffice as far as his qualifications are concerned,” Sotto said.

Sotto said oppositors of Honasan’s nomination may raise and submit their arguments to the CA so these could be taken up formally.