VERA FILES FACT SHEET: The role of the Commission on Appointments, explained

Presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the only son and namesake of his late dictator father, wants to appoint to his Cabinet people who show “patriotism” and “love for [the] country.”

In a press statement, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, chief of staff and spokesperson of Marcos Jr., said those qualities are the “primary requirements,” aside from competence, for the selection of nominees and appointees to key positions in the next administration. Rodriguez has been named to be the executive secretary to Marcos Jr.

As with all presidents after 1986, nominees and appointees of Marcos Jr., once he is proclaimed officially as the 17th president of the Philippines, are subject to scrutiny and confirmation by the Commission on Appointments (CA), a 25-member panel composed of senators and congressmen.

Here are four things you need to know about the CA: 

1. What is the function of the CA? 

The CA serves as “moderator” of the appointing power of the president by thoroughly reviewing the qualifications and ensuring the fitness of the people chosen for specific positions in the government bureaucracy.

During the eight-year martial rule of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., there was no mechanism for “check and balance” to the appointments of the president in the “judiciary, military, and other sensitive positions” because the CA had “ceased to exist.” The 1973 Constitution, which was approved under Marcos Sr., removed a safeguard in the 1935 Constitution requiring the president to seek prior consent from the CA before officially appointing key officials in government.

The CA was re-established as an independent constitutional body under the 1987 Constitution, which was crafted following the ouster of Marcos Sr. in 1986.


2. What government positions pass through the CA process?

Section 16, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution requires the president to seek the consent of the CA when appointing “heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, or officers of the Armed Forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, and other officers whose appointments are vested in him.”

The president can make two kinds of appointments: regular and ad interim. Regular appointments or nominations are issued  when Congress is in session; ad interim appointments are issued when Congress is in recess.

The president must submit the nomination or appointment to the CA, which has 30 session days to review the qualifications of a prospective official and deliberate on whether to approve, reject or bypass it.

Under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the CA approved 1,955 appointments and nominations as of January 2022. The chief executive is prohibited by the Constitution from making an appointment two months before a presidential election until the end of his term, but may issue temporary appointments to executive positions when public service or public safety is “endangered” by continued vacancies.

Certain government positions need not pass through the CA, such as a Cabinet position for the vice president as provided in Section 3, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos seeking confirmation of Sara Duterte’s DepEd nomination needs context)

Other positions that do not require confirmation by the CA include the heads of constitutional offices such as the commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, chairperson and members of the Commission on Human Rights. Although the Ombudsman and deputies, justices of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts do not need the approval of the CA, applicants are selected by the president from a shortlist prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council.

Also exempted are the chairperson and commissioners of the National Labor Relations Commission, directors and chief superintendents of the Philippine National Police, and officers, from the rank of captain and higher, of the Philippine Coast Guard.


3. Who makes up the CA and its standing committees? 

The CA is a 25-member constitutional body. Although its members belong to Congress, the commission is independent from the legislature.

It is led by the Senate president as ex-officio chairperson, with 12 members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Constitution requires that CA members are selected “on the basis of proportional representation” of  political parties and party-list groups.

CA members must elect a vice chairperson, one majority floor leader with two assistants, and one minority floor leader with two assistants. They should also elect the chairperson, vice chairperson and members of the commission’s 25 standing committees, such as the committees on foreign affairs and education. 

Of the 25 committees, 22 are tasked with examining the nominations or appointments under their respective jurisdictions. For example, the appointment or nomination of the defense secretary must be referred to the Committee on National Defense, while the chairpersons and heads of the Commission on Audit, Commission on Elections and Civil Service Commission are scrutinized by the Committee on Constitutional Commission and Offices.

The three other committees – the Committee on Accounts, Committee on Rules and Resolutions and Committee on Ethics – are tasked with resolving internal matters, such as cases involving ethical violations of CA members.


4. Have there been appointments rejected by the CA? 

Under Duterte, five appointments for Cabinet secretaries were rejected in 2017.

The appointment of Perfecto Yasay, college roommate of Duterte, as secretary of Foreign Affairs  was the first rejection in March 2017 over citizenship issues. It was revealed during the CA hearings that Yasay renounced his American citizenship only two days after his appointment to the post  in June 2016.

Two months after Yasay’s rejection, the CA junked the ad interim appointment of Gina Lopez as Environment secretary. Lopez’s appointment faced opposition from the mining sector after she shut down 23 mines and suspended the operations of five others.

Two of Duterte’s Left-leaning appointees – Judy Taguiwalo as Social Welfare secretary and Rafael Mariano as Agrarian Reform secretary – were also rejected in August and September 2017, respectively.

In September 2018, Duterte, who offered four Cabinet positions in May 2016 to the communist rebels in a bid to achieve peace with them, expressed relief that the CA thumbed down his Left-leaning appointees. Duterte canceled the peace talks with communist rebels in November 2017 due to allegations of continued atrocities.

(See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: From ‘friend’ to foe, Duterte sees demise of CPP-NPA)

The fifth and last Cabinet appointee of Duterte rejected by the CA was Paulyn Ubial for the Department of Health in October 2017. Ubial faced four petitions against her appointment, including one from employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation who questioned her management style.


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Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. official website, Love for country and patriotism are primary requirements for BBM’s cabinet, May 14, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, Primer, Accessed May 20, 2022

Lawyer Vic Rodriguez official Facebook page, On nomination as Executive Secretary:, May 22, 2022

Official Gazette official website, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, Mandate, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, Confirmation Process, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, THE NEW RULES of the COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENTS and RULES OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, About, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website,, Homepage, Accessed May 20, 2022

Official Gazette official website, 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Accessed May 20, 2022

Official Gazette official website, 1935 Constitution amended, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments official website, Confirmation Process, Accessed May 20, 2022

Commission on Appointments’ list of confirmed appointments and nominations

Presidential Communications Operations Office official website, Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Get Together with the Filipino Community, Oct. 16, 2016

CNN Philippines official website, CA rejects Yasay’s appointment as DFA Chief, March 8, 2017 official website, Perfecto Yasay fails to secure confirmation as DFA chief, March 8, 2017 official website, Foreigner Yasay secretary no more, March 8, 2017 official website, CA rejects Gina Lopez as environment secretary, May 3, 2017

CNN Philippines official website, CA rejects Gina Lopez appointment as DENR chief, May 3, 2017

Greenpeace Philippines official website, The rejection of Gina is a rejection of change, May 3, 2017

Department of Environment and Natural Resources official website LOPEZ ORDERS CLOSURE OF 23 METALLIC MINES, Feb. 2, 2017

ABS-CBN News official YouTube channel, Taguiwalo rejected as social welfare chief, Aug. 16, 2017 official YouTube channel, CA rejects Rafael Mariano as agrarian reform secretary, Sept. 6, 2017 official website, Duterte to Left: 4 departments yours, May 16, 2016 official website, Duterte offers key gov’t positions to CPP, May 16, 2016

CNN Philippines official website, Duterte offering Cabinet posts to the CPP, May 17, 2016


Official Gazette official website, Proclamation No. 360, Nov. 23, 2017

Senate of the Philippines official website, Pangilinan is new CA minority leader, Sept. 5, 2019 official website, CA rejects Paulyn Ubial as health secretary, Oct. 10, 2017

Manila Times, Appointments body rejects Health chief (via, Oct. 11, 2017 official website, Ubial on CA rejection: That’s life, Oct. 11, 2017


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)