CA rejects Gina Lopez as environment secretary
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, May 3, rejected the ad interim appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez after 3 confirmation hearings.
Rejection of a presidential appointee by the CA is rare in Philippine history. Once rejected by the CA, an appointee cannot be reappointed, unlike when the body bypasses an appointment.
It is also the CA’s second rejection of a Cabinet secretary appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The first was former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
The back-to-back rejections are unprecedented.
During her first two confirmation hearings in March, lawmakers quizzed the passionate Lopez about her technical knowledge of the job as environment secretary.
This, after her controversial orders in February to close down or suspend mining operations in the country, and to cancel mineral production sharing agreements.
She also required suspended mining companies to give P2 million for every hectare of farmland affected by their activities, but this order she said is “almost moot and academic” because of the stay of execution issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
More recently, Lopez banned “prospective” open-pit mines in the country – a move questioned by the mining industry for excluding quarrying. Taysan, Batangas once it secures a permit from the provincial government.
But despite the controversial issues hurled against Lopez, President Rodrigo Duterte has thrown his support for her until the very end, even reappointing her twice after she was bypassed by the CA.
During Lopez’s last confirmation hearing on Tuesday, May 2, most of the questions were on her standards as environment secretary, and the legal basis of her recent decisions. – Rappler.com