DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Gina Lopez was unfit to be the head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources because she was “adamant in defending her illegal action,” Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement on Friday.
“If she had carried on with her mindset, it would have embarrassed the Duterte Administration sooner or later. She would have placed the administration in a predicament that would be hard to defend,” Cayetano said, explaining why voted to reject Lopez as DENR chief before the Commission of Appointments.
The CA on Wednesday has rejected Lopez’s appointment as the DENR chief. The former DENR chief, in a television interview, said that Cayetano’s vote was unduly influenced by the campaign fund the senator received from the Zamoras.
“He clearly voted against me, it was very evident. He’s funded by, I mean the Zamoras funded his political campaign, so go figure,” Lopez told GMA News TV’s News To Go on Thursday.
But Cayetano, President Rodrigo Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections, said he was not surprised why Lopez would single him out despite majority of the CA voted against the former environment secretary and even accused him of receiving money from the mining industry.
“At the time of the voting, I felt that for me to explain my vote at that time would be like rubbing salt in a wound, because I would have to enumerate all the reasons why she is not fit to be DENR secretary. I felt it would be cruel to reject then put her down,” he said.
The senator lamented that he did not only supported Lopez’s move in closing down mining sites that were not compliant to the government’s standards. But he also gave Lopez enough chances to dispel fears that she would not observe the legal process in regulating the mining industry.
“Yet she now singles me out when a vast majority of the CA voted to reject (after giving her a year to prove herself) her appointment,” Cayetano said.
“I respect Ms. Lopez’s passion as an advocate for the environment, but she fails to understand that she cannot arrogate unto herself Constitutional powers reserved exclusively for Congress,” he added.
Cayetano pointed out that Lopez’s unwillingness to follow constitutional process made her unfit to head DENR.
“Ms. Lopez’s recent acts already bordered along these lines. Going by her unwillingness to comply with institutional processes, she is not fit to head the DENR. She would have embarrassed the President in no time.”
“We are all for alleviating poverty and the strict enforcement of our laws, but we cannot and should not do so by being whimsical in imposing regulations that violate Constitutional processes,” he said. (davaotoday.com)