Pacquiao: Lopez has '50-50' chance of confirmation
MANILA, Philippines – After 3 confirmation hearings, the Commission on Appointments (CA) will finally deliberate on the ad interim appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Wednesday, May 3.
Only 6 members of the CA committee on environment and natural resources asked questions on Tuesday: Cavite 7th District Representative Abraham Tolentino, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas, Manila 6th District Representative Rosenda Ann Ocampo, and Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Sato.
After the confirmation hearing, some of the CA panel members weighed in on Lopez's chances at the CA.
Asked if he will vote in favor of Lopez, Pacquiao answered: "Partner kami niyan e, paanong hindi? So suportado ko naman siya (We're partners, so how can I not [vote in her favor]? So I support her)."
Cayetano also said in an ambush interview that Lopez's chances "can go any way."
On Lopez's supposed 50-50 chance to be confirmed, the senator said: "50-50? Hindi mo talaga masabi kasi marami ayaw sabihin boto nila e, di ba? Usually, ang alam kong siguradong reject o 'yung siguradong pass, so ito, it can go any way. But I cannot tell you whether it's 50-50, 40-60, [or] 70-30."
(50-50? You really can't say because many of the members don't want to say their vote, right? Usually, you know who will surely be rejected, or who will surely pass, but in this case, it can go any way. But I cannot tell you whether it's 50-50, 40-60, [or] 70-30.)
Cayetano said he himself will wait for Wednesday's deliberations.
"We'll really have to read tonight, and then 'yung deliberation tomorrow, ang maganda lang naman sa kanya, may champion for and against her. So expectation ko, 70% ng members tomorrow ay makikinig doon sa 20% to 30% na strong feelings, tapos tingnan natin kung sinong madadala sa kung anong argument," he added.
(We'll really have to read tonight, and then with the deliberation tomorrow, what's good about her is there are champions for and against her. So my expectation is that 70% of the members tomorrow will listen to the 20% to 30% with strong feelings, and then let's see who will be persuaded with what argument.)
No Duterte lobby
Cayetano said President Rodrigo Duterte, as a rule, does not lobby for his appointees, giving the final decision to the CA. Duterte had said on several occasions that he supports Lopez.
"So nakasama siya ng maraming miyembro ng House at saka ng Senate in the last few months, hindi siya nagsasabing ano, he doesn't lobby. Even sa LEDAC (Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council), ang sinasabi niya, he doesn't lobby for and against. Even sa LEDAC sinasabi niya lang priorities niya, tapos sinasabi niya, kayo representante ng tao, kayo mag-decide," Cayetano said.
(He was met with many members of the House and the Senate in the last few months, and he doesn't lobby. Even at LEDAC, what he says is, he doesn't lobby for and against. Even at LEDAC he only talks about his priorities, then he says, you are the representative of the people, you decide.)
"So hintayin natin. We're going to meet tomorrow. Siyempre 'yung mga tinanong nina Congresswoman Sato, Congresswoman Ocampo, napaka-importante sa amin noon. Gusto namin makita kung anong dahilan, hindi lang dahilan, 'yung base para sa mga desisyon ni Secretary Lopez," he explained.
(So let's wait. We're going to meet tomorrow. Of course, the questions of Congresswoman Sato, Congresswoman Ocampo, those are very important to us. We want to know not only the reason, but also the basis for the decisions of Secretary Lopez.)
Lopez herself said she does not know what will happen to her on Wednesday. (READ: Lopez to CA: Put rights of Filipinos in your 'heart and soul')
"I don't know. I have no idea at all. Mining interests control Congress. I have no idea at all, and I'm not accusing anyone, but that's the reality that exists all over the world. Let's hope at this point in time, the common good rules," she added.
Asked about a new environment secretary endorsed by leaders of the ruling PDP-Laban in Caraga, Lopez said: "It's up to them, you can't control politics. Let's see what happens."
Zamora also reacted to the news, saying the group may be "preempting" the CA.
"Baka masyado nilang inuunahan 'yung CA. Tapusin muna natin 'to bago sila magsubmit ng mga pangalan (They may be pre-empting the CA. Let's finish this first before they submit new names)," the lawmaker said. – with reports from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com