WATCH: Former DENR secretary Gina Lopez says big business behind her CA rejection

MANILA, Philippines - After her controversial rejection as the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Gina Lopez has decided to finally speak out about the issue.

Former DENR secretary Gina Lopez says big business behind her CA rejection
PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/State of the Nation with Jessica Soho
In an interview with Jessica Soho at GMA 7’s State of the Nation, Lopez accused members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) of favoring big businesses over principle.

“It wasn’t a vote on principle, it was clearly a vote because I was going against mining interest and that’s not all I do. Yung goal ng DENR under my watch is to go developmental. My passion is really working on the ground to alleviate the poverty,” Lopez explained.

Some 16 members of the CA voted against Lopez’ appointment citing that she lacked the qualifications to lead the agency and violated several laws in ordering the suspension and closure of mining companies. CA member Senator Panfilo Lacson also said that Lopez displayed “authoritarian tendencies”.

Lopez, who cited several provisions in the Constitution which she upheld, said all her actions were meant to advance social justice in the country. She also mentioned that she has “40 years of experience alleviating the poverty through care for the environment".

“It is the duty of mining companies to prove that they’re not destroying the environment. I have proof that they are destroying the environment. They should prove that they are not. When I asked that they pay for the damage which they have caused, you’re gonna file a case against me at the Ombudsman. Come on. Why don’t you see the damage that you have done to thousands of farmers and fishermen over decades? Why don’t you look at that?”

Furthermore, Lopez accused Congressman Ronaldo Zamora, head of the CA, of protecting his family’s business interest.

“All the congress voted as one block and the head of the block is one of the biggest mining families in the country. Why is this person with business interest heading the Commission on Appointments?”

On Thursday, May 4, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his sadness over Lopez’ rejection as one of his cabinet members.

"Sayang si Gina. I really like her passion...But you know how it is. This is democracy, and lobby money talks,” Duterte said.

Watch her interview.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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