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Gina Lopez says CA vote was influenced by biz interests

Gina Lopez on Wednesday said members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) were influenced by business interests after the bicameral body voted to reject her nomination as Environment Secretary.

Lopez was emotional when she faced the media after the CA decision.

“If government co-opts to big businesses, then what hope does the poor have? What message are we giving here? If you wanna be confirmed, never go against big businesses,” Lopez said.

“When our lawmakers don’t stand for the constitutional right of every Filipino and rather be influenced by business interests, it’s wrong,” she added.

Lopez’s nomination faced over 30 oppositions, most of which were over her order to close 23 mining operations and suspend five others. Lopez has also canceled 75 mining contracts.

Lopez said she wants President Rodrigo Duterte himself to replace her as Environment Secretary.

“I can’t think of any other person. It needs guts, it needs tapang, you have to step on business interests,” adding that a new appointee would likely get “clobbered.”

Her sources said the CA vote was 16 against, and eight in favor.

The eight who voted for Lopez's confirmation were Senators Manny Pacquiao, Vicente Sotto III, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, Ralph Recto, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, and Franklin Drilon.

The House contingent present during the CA vote, done through secret balloting, appears to have decided as a bloc. San Juan City. Rep. Ronaldo Zamora confirmed that he voted against the appointment of Lopez.

“I don’t think she was prepared for the job,” Zamora said.

Zamora’s elder brother, Manuel Zamora Jr., is the chairman of Nickel Asia Corp., the country’s largest nickel miner.

Lopez said the CA members who were influenced by business interests have “lost the moral ascendancy to rule the government.”

“Who suffers if you kill the environment? It’s the poor. And whose duty is it to protect our people? It’s the government and when you make decisions based on business interests, you have shirked your responsibiltiy,” Lopez said.

“You have lost the moral ascendancy to rule the government because to you, business and money is more important than the welfare of the people,” she added. — RSJ, GMA News