CA confirms appointment of Sarmiento as new DILG chief

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Senate Pres. and CA Chair Franklin Drilon joins new DILG Sec. Mel Senen Sarmiento (third from left). Also in photo are Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (left), and CA Majority Leader & Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas (right).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — On Tuesday (September 22), the Commission on Appointments (CA) confirmed the appointment of Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento as the new chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

It took less than 15 minutes for the local government committee, chaired by Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., to recommend for plenary approval Sarmiento's nomination.

During the hearing, Sarmiento recounted his stint in public service. Before Congress, he served as vice mayor and then mayor of Calbayog City, Samar.

Sarmiento will have to forfeit his legislative seat upon assuming his new position, as directed by the Philippine constitution.

The new DILG chief said that he will make sure all local government units will be strengthened regardless of a leader's party affiliation.

Marcos clarified Sarmiento's position on certain bills, such as the giving of retirement benefits to barangay officials who have served three terms. Sarmiento said he was a co-author of the bill.

Sarmiento's confirmation comes more than a week after former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II turned over his duties to Sarmiento in a ceremony last September 11. Roxas will be running for president in next year's elections under the Liberal Party (LP).

During the ceremony, Sarmiento said that he will not allow his position to be politicized. He has filed a leave as secretary general of the LP.

“He was the secretary general of the League of Cities. He was a three-term city mayor, transforming Calbayog into a very progressive city in Western Samar,” Roxas said about his successor.

“His integrity, nearly 20 years of public service, ni minsan, hindi nadapuan ng kahit anong mantsa, kahit anong anomalya ang kanyang pangalan. So may integrity, may competence, and of course, may experience,” Roxas added.

CNN Philippines' Anna Estanislao and Ina Andolong contributed to this report.