CA defers Erwin Tulfo's appointment as DSWD chief
CA defers Erwin Tulfo's appointment as DSWD chief
CA defers Erwin Tulfo's appointment as DSWD chief
by Ellicia Del Mundo22 November 2022
Photo courtesy: Erwin Tulfo

The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Tuesday deferred the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of Erwin Tulfo as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) due to the questions on his citizenship and his libel conviction.

During the CA’s committee on labor, employment, social welfare, and migrant workers’ session, Caloocan Rep. Oscar Malapitan questioned Tulfo if he renounced his Filipino citizenship when he joined the United States Army in 1988.

However, the DSWD Chief requested an executive session regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta raised the issue of Tulfo’s conviction of four counts of libel.

In 1999, the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) found Tulfo guilty of libel for his column about a government official that was published in the daily tabloid Remate.

Admitting that he was convicted of four counts of libel, Tulfo claimed that these were “related” to his profession as a journalist.

But Marcoleta said although he supports Tulfo on his ad interim appointment confirmation, he pointed out that “libel is an offense that involves moral turpitude.”

"In some other cases disposed of by the Supreme Court, there were certain people who are disqualified from holding positions because they have been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude,” he added.

Senator Chiz Escudero then reminded the CA panel that several bills seeking to decriminalize libel have been pending in both the Senate and House.

“I, myself, I’m an author of a bill seeking to decriminalize libel. So if this will be taken against the nominee and later on that bill is approved by the Congress, I think it will be prejudicial to say the least, and unfair if we would be taking that against him,” he said.

In an ambush interview with the media after the session, Tulfo said he was an Amercian citizen from 1988 until 2022. However, he said he renounced the citizenship when he was appointed to President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr's cabinet.

"Pinag-uusapan pa nila yung tinatawag na moral turpitude. Sinasabi ng ilang Kongresista, they will tackle it, they will ask the opinion of the DOJ (Department of Justice). Pero sinasabi naman ng ilang miyembro na para sa elective lang ito [applicable], appointed naman siya," Tulfo said.

"I will leave it to them. I was told that I will be summoned pero wala pang tentative date," he added.

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