The Commission on Appointments (CA) rejects the ad-interim appointment of Gina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during a hearing last Wednesday, May 3.
“It is very sad that, in the Commission on Appointments, clearly business interests have run the day,” said Lopez during a press conference post her rejection.
“It is the constitutional right of every Filipino to a clean and healthy environment. It is our right in the Constitution, and that is premiere above all. And it is the duty of government to grant our people this right. When people make choices influenced [by] and based on business interests transgressing the right of every Filipino to what God has given them, it is wrong,” added Lopez.
“How can a body which is mandated to make decisions based on the common good, make decisions based on business interests?” she further lamented.
Lopez also said that the poor sector of the society suffers most of the consequences when big businesses kill the environment.
“Who suffers if you kill the environment? It’s the poor. And whose duty is it to protect our people? It’s the government. And when you make decisions based on business interests, you have shirked your responsibility. You have lost the moral ascendancy to rule the government because to you business and mining is more important than the welfare of the people.”
Lopez’s appointment was opposed by several mining groups and businessmen after she ordered closure of more than 20 mining firms for ruining bodies of water because of “indiscriminate mining.” The DENR found out that these firms did not comply with minimum requirements for sustainable mining.
Her appointment was bypassed after two consecutive hearings last month. She was then reappointed by President Rodrigo Duterte last April 17. The new rules require the bicameral body to make a decision on whether to confirm or reject an appointee who has been bypassed thrice.
Malacañang said it respects the decision of the CA and considers it as a “democratic process”.
“It is with deep concern that the CA has seen fit to reject her appointment. On the other hand, it’s a democratic process and we respect their decision,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.
How did the CA vote?
Who voted against Gina Lopez?
Lopez’s appointment was rejected after 16 panelists voted “no”, which is already enough to comprise majority of the votes.
Surprisingly, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano who is a staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, voted against Lopez. Three more senators voted “NO” namely, Senator Gringo Honasan, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Panfilo Lacson. Meanwhile, twelve (12) congressmen also opposed the Lopez’s confirmation namely:
- Rep. Abraham Bambol Tolentino
- Rep. Antonio Floirendo
- Rep. Benhur Salimbangon
- Rep. Jerry Treñas
- Rep. Joel Mayo Z. Almario
- Rep. Josephine Y. Ramirez Sato
- Rep. Julieta Cortuna
- Rep. Rodolfo Albano III
- Rep. Rnaldo Zamora
- Rep. Roy M. Loyola
- Rep. Sandy Ocampo
- Rep. Wes Gatchalian
Who voted “YES” for Lopez’s confirmation?
Eight senators, mostly from the opposition, favored her appointment namely, Sen. Bam Aquino, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Sen. Franklin Drilon, Sen. JV Ejercito, Sen. Loren Legarda, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Sen. Ralph Recto and Sen. Vicente Sotto.