MANILA, Sept 15 (Mabuhay) — The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed two former local chief executives to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

CONFIRMATION. The Commission on Appointments, led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri (7th from left) confirms the appointments of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (6th from left) and Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla (5th from left) during its plenary session on Wednesday (Sept. 14, 2022). The body, meanwhile, skipped the confirmation of Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to give him time to submit documents being sought by its members. (MNS photo)

Both DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. easily earned the nod of the CA members as nobody expressed opposition to their appointments.

Five days after his overwhelming victory in the May 9 presidential election, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. announced the appointment of Abalos to head the DILG, and 10 days later, he named Remulla as DOJ chief.

Remulla was the former governor of Cavite and served as representative of 7th district of the province twice from 2019 to 2022 and 2010 to 2013.

He was also the undersecretary of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) during the Estrada administration and was the Chief of Staff of former Senator Loi Ejercito Estrada.

Abalos, on the other hand, served as Mandaluyong City mayor for 15 terms, Mandaluyong congressman, chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and former president of the League of Cities of the Philippines.

The powerful commission, meanwhile, decided to skip the appointment of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma to give him enough time to produce documents sought by CA members.

Laguesma was also DOLE secretary from 1998 to 2001, former commissioner of the Social Security System, Presidential Assistant to then President Fidel V. Ramos and former arbiter of the Ministry of Labor and Employment during the time of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

In good hands

Senator Francis Tolentino and other members of the CA said the DOJ will be in ‘good hands’ under Remulla’s leadership.

Tolentino, who chairs the CA Committee on Justice, and Judicial and Bar Council, said his committee believes that the DOJ will give justice to every Filipino.

During the committee’s deliberation on his appointment, Remulla pledged to give his best and expressed his commitment to the DOJ’s vision.

“This, for me, is the most challenging public office I have ever held and hopefully will hold in my entire career as a public servant. I can assure you all that I am a man of action willing to ignite several reforms for the improvement of the administration of justice,” he told the CA.

Since his assumption in office, Remulla said he is planning to improve the DOJ’s services by spearheading the digitalization process of the department and its attached agencies.

He said the DOJ has also partnered with the Department of the Interior and Local Government in training law enforcement officers and prosecutors.

“It is high time that criminality must be deterred because of the certainty of conviction and punishment and this is because of the proper case build-up that may be done and evidence gathering of our law enforcers and prosecutors together,” Remulla said.

The DOJ, he said, is also ramping up efforts against sexual exploitation and all forms of cybercrime.

“It is also for this reason that we are beefing up the department’s information and communications technology capabilities to detect the people behind this,” he added.

Remulla also vowed to remain with the President for the entire six-year term and to ensure that the DOJ’s vision to uphold the rule of law is carried out.

Among DOJ’s attached and constituent agencies which will be under Remulla’s leadership are the Public Attorney’s Office, Office of the Solicitor General, Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Corrections, Board of Pardons and Parole, Parole and Probation Administration, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and Land Registration Authority. (MNS)