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Friday, May 5, 2017

Duterte blames ‘lobby money’ for Lopez’s exit

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he was saddened by the Commission on Appointments’ rejection of Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez as Environment secretary.
In his speech before a convention of orthopedic doctors in Davao City, the President however said the powerful appointments body was within its powers when it junked Lopez’s nomination.
“Gina is a loss. I really like her passion. But…you know how it is. This is democracy and lobby money talks. I do not control everything. I am the head of the executive department,” Duterte said.
“I’d like to appoint certain people but I share powers and that is the process of checks and balances. The President appoints, but the appointee has to undergo the scrutiny of the Commission on Appointments,” he added.
The powerful body on Wednesday voted against the confirmation of Lopez as Environment secretary.
Duterte publicly supported Lopez after the commission bypassed her appointment. He lauded her for being “pro-poor.”
But some in the Duterte Cabinet, including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, had issues with how Lopez handled her audit of mining companies and their subsequent closures.
Lopez was the second Cabinet appointee of President Duterte to be rejected by the powerful commission, after former Foreign Affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr.

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