MANILA - Outgoing Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said Wednesday only President Rodrigo Duterte could take her place, as she rued how “business interest” led lawmakers to reject her appointment.
“My choice for DENR secretary is President Duterte… I can’t think of any other person. It needs guts. It needs tapang (bravery) because you have to step on business interest,” Lopez told reporters.
“In terms of leading the agency, I don’t think he can get anyone new. You’ll get clobbered,” she said.
Lopez said she was offering her services to Duterte, citing her experience in development work.
The Commission on Appointments rejected Lopez’s confirmation on Wednesday, after contentious hearings that required the “wisdom of Solomon,” according to Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Lopez riled the mining industry when she ordered the closure or suspension of 28 mines and threatened to cancel 75 contracts, following an industry-wide audit.
Last week, Lopez banned new open-pit mines.
“It is unfortunate that business interests have in fact run the day. That’s really what it is,” she said.
“We planned many things. Sayang, sana sa pamamagitan ng pangangalaga sa kalikasan, doon manggagaling ang pakinabang ng lahat,” she said.
(What a waste. Everyone would have benefittedn from caring for the environment.)
Lopez was the second member of the Duterte Cabinet to be rejected by the CA. The bicameral body earlier rejected Perfecto Yasay as foreign secretary after he was reported to have obtained a US passport.