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Goodbye, Gina? Francis Tolentino wants top DENR post

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Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino has set his sights on heading the Department of Environment and Natural Resources after President Rodrigo Duterte picked another prominent politiko for his preferred post, Politiko has learned.

Tolentino originally wanted to handle the Interior and Local Government portfolio but was beaten to the post by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who will join Duterte’s official family as soon as the one-year ban on appointing defeated candidates lapses.

The President, however, appears keen to appoint Tolentino even if it’s not to the DILG.

There are indications that Tolentino might become the next DENR Secretary soon. For one, several stakeholders are strongly opposing the confirmation of incumbent Environment chief Gina Lopez due to her strong stance on mining and order to close down several mining sites.

Given the criticism against Lopez– with no less than Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, the President’s childhood friend opposing the widespread closure of mining sites– Duterte might be prevailed upon to choose a new DENR Secretary.

And when that happens, Tolentino will just be there waiting in the wings.