CA rejects Gina Lopez as environment secretary

Photo Courtesy from Kodao

By Staff

04May2017 ( – With the rejection of Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary, Filipinos and the revolutionary forces lost an additional friend in their struggle to defend the environment and the livelihood of peoples, especially the masses of peasants and national minority peoples.

On Wednesday after 3 confirmation hearings, Commission on Appointments (CA) rejected the appointment of Environment Secretary Lopez. She is the second presidential appointee next to former Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay to be rejected by the CA.

Considering what is at stake, big bourgeois comprador interests in the mining industry surely mobilized hundreds of millions of pesos and employed their vast political influence to ensure that the Senate’s Commission on Appointments would reject the appointment of environmentalist Gina Lopez as head of the DENR according to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

During the press conference, Lopez said those who voted against her nomination were “influenced by business interests.” She said “if government co-opts to big businesses, then what hope does the poor have? What message are we giving here? If you wanna be confirmed, don’t go against big businesses.”

“When our lawmakers don’t stand for the constitutional right of every Filipino and rather be influenced by business interests, it’s wrong,” she added.

Senator Manny Pacquiao, chairperson of the Committee on environment and natural resources, moved to disapprove Lopez’s appointment and noted the vote did not go as he “personally wanted to” but that the “decision of the majority” should be respected, based on reports.

“To Gina I truly admire your passion and love for the environment,” Pacquiao said during the pronouncement of his committee’s decision.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Sen. Loren Legarda and members of the Liberal Party (LP) in the commission led by Senator Francis Pangilinan, manifested on record that they voted in favor of the appointment of Lopez however no CA member objected to the motion.

“It is unfortunate that we let pass an opportunity for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to be led by someone who has the passion, integrity and political will to implement our environmental laws,” stated Legarda, champion in environmental advocacy.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters Malacañang respects the decision of the CA saying “It is of course with deep concern that CA has seen fit to reject her appointment. On the other hand it’s a democratic process and we respect their decision”.

Lopez urged the lawmakers to look after the needs of the poor and not of big businesses and she would still offer her service to Duterte in terms of development.

According to CPP, it only underscores the necessity for the people to rely primarily on their unity and strength in opposing and resisting the entry of mining companies which plunder the country’s patrimony and employ the military and armed groups to oppress the people and their communities.

“The Filipino people can always rely on the New People’s Army (NPA) to defend their welfare and interests,” CPP said. “The NPA will continue to implement policies of the people’s democratic government and carry out its orders to punish all plunderers and prevent the further destruction of the environment by mining companies and big plantations.” []


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