Two senators have expressed support for acting Public Defender Masood Karimipour if Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio submits his name for Senate confirmation.
Senate Vice President Thomas P. Villagomez and Senate Floor Leader Pete P. Reyes, who are both members of the Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations Committee, said they would seek his confirmation in the upper house if appointed to the Public Defender’s Office.
Karimipour has held the position in acting capacity since the resignation of former PDO chief Harvey Palefsky a few months ago.
According to Reyes, he believes Karimipour is capable to meet the duties and responsibilities of the office if he would finally get the governor’s official blessing.
“We are anxiously awaiting the governor’s nomination of Mr. Karimipour so that the Senate can act on it immediately,” he said in an interview. “All of the senators are ready to support his immediate confirmation.”
Tenorio could not be reached for comment on Reyes’ statement, although the senator said it is entirely up to the local chief executive to choose the people who will head each department or agency as well as those who will sit in government boards and commissions.
The Senate is required under the law to confirm or reject each appointment, although that process has come under scrutiny following dispute between the legislative body and the executive branch as to which officials must go through the confirmation.
Villagomez, in a separate interview, also threw his support behind Karimipour, stopping short of asking the governor to formally appoint him to the office.
Reyes stressed the need to designate someone at the PDO at a more permanent capacity, saying that he doesn’t want it to end up like the Attorney General’s Office whose chief government lawyer Maya B. Kara remains in acting capacity.
Tenorio withdrew her nomination at the last minute in September 1998 on the heels of clear Senate rejection, but he has retained her as acting AG since then.
“It’s ridiculous that we don’t have a permanent AG but we don’t want the Public Defender’s Office to have a similar fate,” said Reyes.