Appointment of permanent AG backed

Posted on Jan 14 2000

Senate Vice President Thomas P. Villagomez yesterday backed a move by the governor to appoint a permanent attorney general who will be acceptable to the senators for his or her immediate confirmation.

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio should name a new nominee in place of acting Attorney General Maya B. Kara who has drawn strong rejection by members of the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Governmental Investigations, according to the senator.

“The governor should make a move before the court comes out with a decision on the legality of [Ms. Kara’s] appointment,” said Mr. Villagomez.

The Superior Court is set to hand down its ruling on the case filed by former Senate President Juan Demapan contesting Ms. Kara’s authority following the raid conducted by the AGO on his gambling establishment.

There have been renewed pressures from the Senate in recent weeks to oust the chief government lawyer from office whose nomination in September 1998 was withdrawn by Mr. Tenorio at the last minute on the heels of clear rejection by senators.

The governor disclosed the other day that his administration is now working at installing a permanent attorney general, although he declined to say whether he is eyeing another official to replace Ms. Kara.

Mr. Villagomez stressed he will not interfere with the appointment power of the governor, saying he would leave it up to him to choose the person to head the AGO.

“He makes the appointment and we do the confirmation. We will just wait whoever he names to the position,” said the senator.

But he also underscored the need to enact legislation that will limit to 90 days in which an acting attorney general can stay in office if he or she has not been confirmed by the Senate.

Mr. Villagomez said he would draft a measure to push this proposal that was similar to a bill he offered during the 10th Legislature, but did not pass the lower house.

“I will make sure that whatever is the outcome of the court decision, I’d like to see that there’s a statute to limit the term of an acting attorney general,” he said.

Ms. Kara has been one in a spate of AGO chiefs in acting capacity since the administration of former Gov. Froilan C. Tenorio. (Benhur C. Saladores)

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