MANILA – A senator who voted against the confirmation of Gina Lopez as environment secretary said his decision was due to many reasons, including her supposed “authoritarian tendencies.”
“[S]he admittedly arrogated unto herself the authority which is not prescribed under the existing laws of the land. That makes her potentially dangerous as a department head,” Lacson said in a statement on Thursday.
He added, the “two basic criteria” for confirmation are fitness and competence. While Lopez showed passion and enthusiasm, these do not automatically translate into these two traits, he added.
According to the lawmaker, Lopez failed to show she was qualified for the post, based on his “own observation and analysis of her performance” during the confirmation proceedings.
“On a personal note, I hate being intimidated and pressured in the performance of my duties as a legislator and member of the [Commission on Appointments]. Her supporters can speculate all they want why I voted to reject her confirmation but these are my reasons and nothing more,” he added.
The bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday voted against the confirmation of Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She failed to get a majority vote among the 25 members of the CA.
On Tuesday, Lopez told the CA that the constitutional right to a clean environment should be prioritized over business interests.
She also defended the legal basis for requiring nickel miners that remove their ore stockpiles to set aside an additional P2 million per hectare of disturbed land on top of funds already set aside to repair environmental damage.
A Cabinet oversight body will push through with its review of Lopez's audit of the mining industry, despite the CA rejection.