‘I don’t know’ was wrong answer
A political appointee of President Duterte torpedoed his confirmation on Wednesday as ambassador to Brunei Darussalam when he couldn’t answer basic questions about his intended posting.
The appointment of lawyer James Lao, 74, is expected to be bypassed at the Commission of Appointments (CA) after he showed a poor grasp of his prospective assignment, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said.
During proceedings at the Senate, the CA decided to defer endorsing Lao’s confirmation to the plenary. He was the lone nominee out of five ambassador appointees to fail to make the cut.
Lao answered “I don’t know” several times when asked if he knew what kind of jobs Filipinos had in Brunei, what their labor concerns were, and about agreements signed by President Duterte and the Sultan of Brunei during the former’s recent state visit.
“It (endorsement) has been deferred. So he will be bypassed. Whether or not the President will reappoint him during the recess is a decision on the part of the President,” Drilon, a member of the CA’s committee on foreign affairs, told reporters.
Lao’s unsatisfactory answers prompted House Majority Leader Rodolfo Albano III, a commission member, to ask Foreign Undersecretary Linglingay Lacanlale if Lao was briefed about his appointment.
“It is the duty of the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) to brief the nominee of the President, because it will be the President who will be embarrassed if the nominee is unable to answer simple questions asked here,” Albano said.
Lacanlale replied that all nominees to foreign missions were “given several briefings” and “briefing papers so they could read up.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.