WATCH | PDP-Laban eyes possible replacement for Lopez at DENR

May 3, 2017 - 1:11 AM
DENR Regina Lopez
DENR secretary-designate Regina Lopez at the Commission on Appointments hearing.

Secretary-designate Regina Lopez of Environment and Natural Resources was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments Tuesday, even as the administration-backed PDP-Laban party disclosed that it has a candidate to replace Lopez in the event her appointment ultimately gets rejected.

Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino pointed out there seems to be undue focus on the issue of mining. “There are other equally pressing issues at hand, like the so-called double titling of real property. There are many sides to the job of a DENR secretary.”

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano added that Lopez’s overly negative posture on the issue of mining has begun to touch nerves in the foreign investor community: “The question keeps saying where do we go if we want to do mining, and no one could answer DENR.”

The hearing also brought up the tendency of Lopez to issue administrative orders that have little or no basis in law.

A case in point is the requirement for suspended mining firms to set aside PhP2 million for every hectare of land that has been adversely affected by the mining activity.

Asked by Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato about which law was the basis for this requirement, Lopez responded: “Ma’am, isn’t the law that says if people are aversely affected, isn’t that enough?”

Came the quick rejoinder from Sato: “That’s not enough.”

Atty. Mark Tolentino is being eyed as a possible replacement for Lopez if her appointment hits rock bottom.

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