May 7, 2017
Malacanang clarified on Sunday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that “lobby money talks” when the Commission on Appointments rejected his nomination of Regina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was “not a sweeping assault” to the body.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s statement “highlights the existence of certain vested interests in the appointment of officials.
“This, however, does not in any way diminish the integrity of the Commission on Appointments (CA),” he said in a statement.
He noted that some members of the CA have decided according to principle and conscience and even came out to explain their votes.
Abella stressed that the President respects the independence of the CA.
“The fact that he did not interfere during the confirmation process of the erstwhile DENR Secretary shows his deference to the body,” he said.
Duterte, in a speech recently in Davao City, expressed regret that Lopez was not confirmed by the CA.
He has said that he has no control over the other branches of government, such as Congress whose members compose the CA.
He also said that “lobby money talks,” apparently insinuating that those who opposed Lopez’s appointment, such as the mining sector, bought some members of the CA.
During her 10-month stint as DENR chief, Lopez ordered the closure of 23 mining projects, suspension of five others, cancellation of 75 mineral production sharing agreements, and ban of open pit mining, among others. (Celerina Monte/DMS)
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