May 3, 2017: CA rejects Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary

May 3, 2017: CA rejects Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary

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?)

This, after her controversial orders in February to close down or suspend mining operations in the country, and to cancel mineral production sharing agreements.

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’)

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