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Duterte's 'lobby money' claim an 'assault' on CA's integrity –Lacson 

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President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that “lobby money” influenced the Commission on Appointments’ (CA) vote to reject the nomination of environmentalist Gina Lopez is an “assault” on the bicameral body’s integrity, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Friday.

In a statement, Lacson said that while he does not feel alluded to, Duterte’s remark was “uncalled for.”  

“I think it is unfortunate if not inappropriate and uncalled for. It is a sweeping assault not only on the integrity of the members of the CA who voted for rejection but the CA itself, being an independent constitutional body,” Lacson said.

“I am almost sure, those members who are his staunchest allies in both houses of Congress, will not cast their votes without first seeking his guidance,” he pointed out.

Lacson was one of those who voted to reject Lopez’s nomination as Environment secretary, saying she was neither fit nor qualified for the position, and that she has “authoritarian tendencies.”

Lacson said Lopez’s “passion and enthusiasm” do not necessarily translate into “fitness and qualification,” both of which are basic criteria to confirm a presidential appointee.

A Teacher party-list Rep. Julieta Cortuna, also a member of the CA, said there was “no lobby money, no money talks.”

“He is the President of the Republic and just respect what he said. God is above all these and I believe he will provide what’s best for the Filipino people,” Cortuna said in a text message.

Sources earlier said the vote to reject Lopez was 16-8.

Lopez faced three CA committee hearings, with more than 30 oppositions filed against her nomination, most of which were in connection with her order to close 23 mining operations and suspend five others. —KBK, GMA News

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