- Former environment secretary blasted senator for voting against her
- She accused him of being beholden to Zamoras, said they funded his political campaign
- She also said he was clearly in favor of mining, questioned his way of thinking
MANILA, Philippines – In a fighting mood despite being ousted from her ad interim appointment as environment secretary, Gina Lopez lashed out at the members of the powerful Commission on Appointments who voted against her confirmation.
Lopez, who had ruffled many feathers in the mining industry due to her closure of several mines and controversial orders, in particular singled out President Rodrigo Duterte’s close ally Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and accused him of being beholden to the Zamoras.
“He clearly voted against me, it was very evident. He’s funded by, I mean the Zamoras funded his political campaign, so go figure,” she told GMA News.
The Zamora family run the helm of the country’s largest nickel company, Nickel Asia.
San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, a member of the CA, is the brother of Nickel Asia president Manuel Zamora.
According to Lopez, Cayetano’s way of thinking and questioning of the possible destructive effects of tourism showed he was clearly biased towards the mining industry.
“He was saying, if you don’t allow mining, what about beach resorts? Is he saying that because people step on the shell, we should allow rivers to be destroyed?” she asked. “His thinking is clearly skewed towards the mining industry.”
During their faceoff, Cayetano had expressed concern about several of Lopez’s orders — including the setting up of a trust fund by mining companies in favor of farmers and landowners affected by mining activities.
According to the senator, Lopez cannot set any amount without authority from Congress — a view insisted by the former environment secretary as within the prerogative of her department.