Gina Lopez can still be
reappointed -– Pacquiao
MANILA, March 14 (PNA) -- Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said he was
sure that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez will be reappointed by President
Rodrigo Duterte even after she will be bypassed by the Commission on
Pacquiao, chair of the CA Committee on Environment, said the CA will deem
Lopez bypassed as the Congress adjourns on Wednesday.
He said there is a “50/50” chance that Lopez would be confirmed as
Environment Secretary given the strong opposition from the CA and various
The neophyte senator said that Lopez’s confirmation seemed like the
“longest” confirmation hearing for a Secretary. Hearings have been suspended
twice and bypassed once.
Lopez, who is currently on an official trip abroad, had to face over 20
oppositors who were against her decision to close and suspend several mining
operations in previous CA hearings on her appointment.
Instead of having a closed-door caucus with the CA panel, Pacquiao called
for a meeting to discuss Lopez’s nomination.
Pacquiao invited Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, co-chair of the
Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), to speak on the council’s role
in advising the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on
matters such as allowing mine closures.
According to Dominguez, the MICC acts as an advisory body for the DENR but
it is still up to the DENR to make the final policy decisions.
He said that Lopez failed to follow due process by ordering the mine
closures and suspensions as she did not allegedly consult with concerned
Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin, for his part, said the potential
impact of mine closures is estimated at PHP 821 million worth of losses.
Agabin said that as per his knowledge, the closure of the mines have not yet
Dominguez clarified that he had no spat with Lopez despite the latter’s
questioning the review and that he remained part of the team.
Pacquiao, however, said that Lopez will still be given a chance to review
and air her side in the next CA hearing in May.
“We adjourned the meeting so that on May, when we come back (from recess),
we will open the hearing and give her time, send her a copy of this meeting
so that she can review,” Pacquiao said.
“On May, I will give her time to respond,” he added.
Saying he is also an environmental advocate, Pacquiao said that as chairman
of the committee, he would not show bias and give time for Lopez as well as
oppositors to speak. (PNA)