By Mario Casayuran and Jan Carlo Anolin
The Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed Wednesday the ad interim appointment of former Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II as the new Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Honasan was temporarily appointed as DICT chief in July after ending his senatorial term on June 30.
The confirmation went swiftly as representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives vouched for Honasan’s post.
Honasan’s former colleagues in the Senate, such as Senators Cynthia Villar, Panfilo Lacson, Joel Villanueva and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, also supported his appointment, citing that Honasan was qualified for the position.
The CA committee, chaired by Rep. Genaro M. Alvarez Jr., took just three minutes for his committee to approve a motion recommending favorably Honasan’s confirmation after hearing the motions of San Juan Rep. Ronaldo B. Zamora, CA vice chairman, and Senator Villanueva.
Zamora said the 12-man House of Representatives contingent to the CA interviewed Honasan for one hour and 30 minutes at the Batasang Pambansa office in Quezon City last Tuesday and found no issue against him.
Zamora said Honasan is ‘’extremely qualified’’ and fit for the DICT post, a new Cabinet post under the Duterte administration.
Finding no opposition from committee members, Alvarez then recommended that Honasan’s appointment be confirmed as a new member of the Duterte Cabinet.
Senate President Vicente C. Soto III, who presided over the CA plenary session as concurrent CA Chairman, said he felt honored of having presided over session as Zamora and seven senators seconded a motion to have a former colleague’s appointment confirmed.
Neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go delivered the longest ‘’second the motion’’ speech where he listed the very high scholastic rating of Honasan during his days at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and of his being morally upright and physically fit before and during his 21-year stint at the Senate.
Villar, likewise, said Honasan’s background and experience in the public service made him fit for the post.
After the committee public hearing, Honasan told Senate reporters that he is following President Duterte’s marching orders for the DICT that the country must have a safe, fast and secure telecommunications system.
As the third telecommunications corporation (telco) has begun setting up its facilities what with its P25.7 billion performance bond, Honasan said the DICT is encouraging a fourth and fifth to come in so that the country would have even cheaper and faster internet service.
Honasan stressed that his marching orders from President Duterte are “connectivity…connecting government to government, domestic to global, government to business and its citizens.’’