EXECUTIVE Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Wednesday rejected the accusation of Environment Secretary Regina Lopez that he was siding with suspended mining companies when he issued a stay order against her directive that they pay P2 million per hectare of damaged farmland before being allowed to remove their stockpiles.
“The stay order issued by the [Office of the President] is not a final order but a mere provisional measure to prevent substantial damage that may result unless extracted ores are shipped out,” Medialdea said in a text message Wednesday.
“The stay order does not contradict the President’s policy against destructive mining operations. It is provisional in character and may be set aside or modified at any time during the pendency of the appeal,” he added.
On Wednesday, Lopez accused Medialdea of going “against the very spirit of the Duterte administration, which is to help the poor” when he allowed mining companies to remove their stockpiles even before they remit P2 million per damaged hectare to a trust fund.
“The OP has not taken any legal position regarding the validity of the DENR requirement for mining companies to remit P2 million per hectare to a trust fund. This is the very issue on appeal to the OP,” Medialdea said.
“The appeals to the Office of the President go to the Executive Secretary and not directly to the President. Our office applies the rules on appeal uniformly. The decision or order appealed from is temporarily stayed, unless the case falls under any of the exceptions,” he added.