MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday lamented the fact that the Commission on Appointments (CA) has yet to confirm some of his Cabinet members, including Regina Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Paulyn Ubial of the Department of Health (DOH), and Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
"Ang problema kay Gina (Lopez), she has not gotten the nod of the Commission on Appointments (CA). Still have so many [appointees to approve]...Ubial, I'm just thankful that they were not rejected outright, they were just bypassed," he said.
Aside from Lopez, Ubial, and Tugade, 12 other Duterte appointees, including Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., failed to get the nod of the CA as of last month.
According to Duterte, Lopez may not get confirmed by the CA because of the criticisms she has received for her strict policies and crackdown on unsafe mines.
"I do not think she would ever get the confirmation. But Gina, in the meantime, let us just concede good faith in her. I hope she would listen to Jacinto," Duterte said, referring to Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) chief Mario Luis Jacinto.
Jacinto, a former chief of the regional as well as the Davao City environment and natural resources office, assists Lopez in reviewing mining permits.
"Actually, Jacinto is a valedictorian, UP [University of the Philippines] 'yan. He is very bright. Many a corporation there want to get him. That guy is from UP," Duterte said.
Duterte also said he will see to it that the process of reviewing mining practices will be fair to all parties involved.
"My office is always receptive to any abuse of authority or if we exceeded the normal limitations of our discretion. I will see to it that everything is fair," he added.
The President has taken a tough stance on mining, saying all mining contracts would be reviewed. He said he will not ban mining as long as it follows strict environmental protection standards.
The President has backed Lopez on the crackdown on unsafe mining practices.