MANILA—Although passionate and enthusiastic, Gina Lopez was not fit for the job of being Environment Secretary, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson, one of the 16 members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) who voted against Lopez’s confirmation, said that her passion and enthusiasm alone were enough to make her be fit or qualified.
“Confirmation of a presidential appointee or nominee, especially a Cabinet member, by the Commission on Appointments always follows two basic criteria: fitness and qualification. Passion and enthusiasm do not automatically translate into the two criteria,” Lacson said in a statement sent to media.
The senator said that Lopez “obviously has a lot of passion and enthusiasm” but the CA hearings showed that she needed more than those criteria.
“…In my own observation and analysis of her performance during the entire confirmation proceedings, she is not fit for the job nor is she qualified,” he added.
He also pointed out how Lopez could have violated the 1995 Mining Act by suspending mining companies for the rehabilitation of affected areas.
“Worse, she admittedly arrogated unto herself the authority which is not prescribed under the existing laws of the land. That makes her potentially dangerous as a department head. Further, she has authoritarian tendencies,” the senator said.
Lacson further defended his decision by noting that he did not like being intimidated and pressured in the performance of his duties as a legislator and member of the CA.
“Her supporters can speculate all they want why I voted to reject her confirmation but these are my reasons and nothing more,” he said.
Sixteen members of the CA voted against Lopez’s confirmation while the eight others voted for her confirmation.
The CA held an executive session in the Senate to vote to either adopt or reject Lopez’s appointment. Hours later, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, chair of the CA environment committee, presented the recommendation to reject it.
Several senators manifested that they voted for Lopez’s confirmation including senators Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Joseph Ejercito, Loren Legarda and Francis Pangilinan among others.