MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, May 3, rejected the ad interim appointment of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez after 3 confirmation hearings.
Rejection of a presidential appointee by the CA is rare in Philippine history. Once rejected by the CA, an appointee cannot be reappointed, unlike when the body bypasses an appointment.
It is also the CA’s second rejection of a Cabinet secretary appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The first was former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.
The back-to-back rejections are unprecedented.
During her first two confirmation hearings in March, lawmakers quizzed the passionate Lopez about her technical knowledge of the job as environment secretary. (READ: Are the odds stacked against Gina Lopez in the CA?)
She also required suspended mining companies to give P2 million for every hectare of farmland affected by their activities, but this order she said is “almost moot and academic” because of the stay of execution issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
More recently, Lopez banned “prospective” open-pit mines in the country – a move questioned by the mining industry for excluding quarrying. (READ: Quarrying in Batangas: ‘No huge pit will be left here’)
One of her family’s companies plans to operate a quarrying site in Taysan, Batangas once it secures a permit from the provincial government.
But despite the controversial issues hurled against Lopez, President Rodrigo Duterte has thrown his support for her until the very end, even reappointing her twice after she was bypassed by the CA.