Boholanos stood as one in denouncing the move of the Commission on Appointment to junk the appointment of environmental crusader Gina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
In a random radio survey over dyRD, 92 percent of the respondents questioned the decision of the commission in denying the assumption of Ms. Lopez being known to be a passionate environmentalist.
Asked for his reaction, Bishop Abet Uy said he believes in Gina’s the heart and passion for the protection of the environment.
The church leader said “it is quite worrisome to hear insinuations of the President that the denial of her confirmation was motivated by selfish interests of big mining companies. If this is proven true, then the CA’s denial of Gina is another human tragedy.”
Another Boholano bishop who is assigned at the mining zone in Surigao likewise commented on CA’s rejection on the appointment of Ms. Lopez.
Bishop Antonieto “Yet” Cabajog said “she is a great loss! The law should serve the common good. It’s the spirit of the law we should pursue not the law itself for its own sake.’
“Surigao has more to offer in eco-tourism if only given the support by these mining companies,” the bishop stressed.
Meanwhile, a consistent environmental lawyer who works in the government said “it’s a great loss to environmental protection and a victory on the part of mining business. CA’s action shows that business interests still prevail even against the expressed desire of the President,” he said.
“Lobby money talks,” was the common reaction of the survey respondents who denounced and questioned the rejection on Ms. Lopez appointment as DENR secretary.
“The government will never find another Gina Lopez who has the genuine heart in loving Mother Earth,” the respondents stated.
The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, May 3, rejected the ad interim appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez after three 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. (READ: Are the odds stacked against Gina Lopez in the CA?)
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.
One of her family’s companies plans to operate a quarrying site in 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. –with reports from Rappler.com