The confirmation hearing on the appointment of Environment Secretary Regina Paz “Gina” L. Lopez will be pushed back further by two months, as she will be out of the country sometime this month.
In an interview with reporters on the sidelines of an event in Quezon City, Lopez said that the hearing, initially scheduled on Wednesday, March 8, will be rescheduled to May 3.
“May 3, because I’m leaving the country in March din eh. So if I have it on Wednesday and there’s 19 oppositors, then it might not finish so I asked [Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D.] Pacquiao I’ll make it May na lang,” she said.
Pacquiao currently sits as the Commission on Appointments (CA) Environment Committee Chair.
Asked to elaborate about her trip abroad, Lopez said she will be out of the country for a retreat, but did not give details.
To recall, the confirmation hearings on the appointment of Lopez and Education Secretary Leonor M. Briones were initially scheduled on February 28, but were postponed after the reorganization in the Senate leadership.
So far, Lopez currently has 19 oppositors, one of which is the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).
According to COMP Vice President for Legal and Policy Ronald V. Recidoro, Lopez may have set the record for most oppositors.
“GL (Gina Lopez) may have just set a record for most number of oppositors in CA at 19. I know of at least three more groups that will file cases this week. Total will likely reach 22 to 25 oppositors,” he said in a text message last week.
Some anti-mining groups, however, have clamored for the confirmation of Lopez as DENR chief, which Greenpeace Philippines said is a matter of “both urgency and continuity of environmental reforms.”
Lopez, asked earlier to comment on the opposition to her confirmation as Environment Secretary, said: “They have the right to do whatever they want. And I will continue to live by my principles. Let the dice fall where they may.”
“I pray and I hope, with love in their hearts, and with a commitment to integrity, truth, to service and the common good, the esteemed members of the Commission on Appointments will manifest their love in the right decision,” she said last week. —KG, GMA News