MANILA (UPDATED) - Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Friday urged Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Panfilo Lacson to read the Philippine Constitution, as she argued that the basic laws of the country back her mining crackdown.
“I request Cayetano and Lacson to please read the Philippine Constitution…They’re telling me I’m not fit, maybe they’re not fit,” she said in an interview on DZMM Friday.
Lopez, who was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (CA) Wednesday cited several provisions of the Constitution to prove her point.
“The country is ruled by the Philippine constitution… Mining is a social justice issue,” she said.
“A constitution is not just a piece of paper. It’s breathing, it’s the rule. It’s the soul of our country,” she added.
Cayetano, in a statement on Friday, said he did not vote for Lopez because she is unwilling to comply with institutional processes.
"Unfortunately, the Secretary was adamant in defending her illegal actions. She is not fit to head the Department of Environment and Natural Resources," he said.
"She would have embarrassed the President in no time."
However, Cayetano said he hopes the President will appoint another secretary like Lopez.
"I hope that the President will appoint another Ms. Lopez with the same zeal, yet still mindful of the requisite that one must be faithful to the mandate and dictates of our laws and processes," he said.
Lacson, meanwhile, said he did not confirm Lopez because the environment advocate was not fit for the job.
“[S]he 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,” Lacson said.
Lopez, however, argued that existing mining laws of the country were not beneficial both to the government and the poor.
"I’d like to say that the current laws on mining are not advantageous to the government or to the Filipino in terms of fiscal regime because the money all goes to the miners," she said.
"Who is not fit for the job if they (lawmakers) think for the mining industry and not for the poor, why are they there? Why are they there?" she said, adding in jest that senators should also go through appointment process.