CA confirms Briones as Education secretary

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Education Secretary Leonor Briones

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Appointments (CA) gave its nod on Wednesday to Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones, as well as the appointment of senior officers of the military.

Briones is the only Cabinet member to be confirmed by the CA a day before Congress goes into a one-and-a-half-monthlong break.

Related: CA bypasses Lopez as Environment chief

Those who were bypassed — aside from Environment secretary Gina Lopez yesterday — were Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano,  Social Welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Health secretary Paulyn Ubial.

Briones said despite her weakness in the knees, since she uses a wheelchair once in a while, this did not necessarily mean that she did not have the capacity to lead DepEd.

She was able to justify questions raised by some CA members on budget utilization, the use of many consultants in her department, trips abroad, reconstruction of classrooms — even her opposition to the distribution of condoms in schools.

The newly-confirmed secretary pointed out the goals of the of her department, including making education accessible to every Filipino child here and abroad.

Briones, who was previously known for her advocacy as president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, is a University of the Philippines professor emeritus. She had held other Cabinet positions in the past — including that of being the national treasurer during President Joseph Estrada's term. 

Meanwhile, dozens of senior Armed Forces officers had also been confirmed on the same day — including Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista as a reserved Army colonel. 

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.