I heard that the President said he would not hesitate to fire his own appointees if they are reported to be engaged in corruption. He did this already with two of his fraternity brothers at the Immigration Bureau who were caught on camera receiving money. He also did it with his former campaign spokesman.
I cheered him for showing political will. People will then believe he is serious about his war on corruption.
But what is happening in the case of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, who had been bypassed by the Commission on Appointments? Mr. Duterte has supported her in her anti-mining advocacy. Lopez has shown incompetence and lack of knowledge on due process and the rule of law.
She is also reportedly involved in graft and corruption.
Why the President is soft on Lopez puzzles me. Is it because Lopez is an heiress of the influential and powerful media outlet, ABS-CBN?
The CA considers Lopez bypassed for a third time, hence considered rejected. It appears though that Mr. Duterte is keen on reappointing her. What gives?
Then, there’s another appointee, movie actor Cesar Montano, who is being charged with anomalies as head of the Tourism Promotions Board. The President supports him.
So is he or is he not serious in the fight against corruption? Again, I would like to be proven wrong.
I think it is significant that Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez said it would take five years for the government to recover its revenue shortfall after Lopez, ordered the closure of 23 mining firms and suspension of five more, and canceled 75 mineral production sharing agreements.
She did all these without due process. She violated the sanctity of contracts.
Dominguez said the government collected P20.6 billion in taxes from mining in 2012; P24.4 billion in 2013; P32.7 billion in 2014; and P29.57 billion in 2015. Many communities are 90 percent dependent on mining for revenues and 200,000 lost on direct hiring making a total of 1.2 million in both direct and induced jobs. Note that Dominguez and Lopez are co-chairs of the Philippine Mining Coordinating Council.
This is the reason I am confused about Duterte’s stand on Lopez. And to think he considers a total mining ban!
Without mining, what would the President use to make phone calls, eat, tell time, travel? What would Lopez use as her ornaments? What gadgets could she use?