Senator Ping Lacson is claiming that all 24 members of the Commission on Appointment (CA) consented to the “rejection” of confirmation of former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez.
Lacson pointed out that when Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, concurrent chair and presiding officer of the CA plenary proceedings, asked if there was any objection to the “motion” of Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao who reported the “rejection” of Lopez’s nomination, no one stood up to raise objection.
“So ang ibig sabihin noon, ang implication, unanimous ang boto ng commission to na i-reject, although nagtayuan sila isa-isa,” he said in an interview with dzBB.
Lacson was referring to the “manifestations” of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III along with Senators Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan stating for the record that they voted in favor of Lopez’ confirmation.
Pangilinan even underscored the fact that his position was shared by fellow party mates in the Liberal Party (LP) who are part of the Senate contingent in the CA, namely Senators Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino and Ralph Recto.
Under the Constitution, Lacson said, a vote of 13 of the CA members would suffice for either the confirmation or rejection of the nomination of a presidential appointee.
Just like what happened to former acting Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr. who likewise was rejected by the CA, Lacson said they did not announce who voted for or against him.
“Hindi na napag-usapan dahil nag-move na lang ako sa floor, sa plenary to reject (his nomination) at ito na-carry (in the plenary), walang nag-object,” he said.
The situation was the same in the case of Lopez, Lacson said, adding that had there been any objection to the motion of Pacquiao – CA chair of the committee on environment and natural resources – they would have “voted” upon it.
“Eh hindi rin nabilang ang boto nila (kung) nag-object sila dahil sabi nila nagma-manifest lang sila. Pero sa floor, sa plenary mismo na ‘yan, nagma-matter. Kung lumabas ang transcript, (let’s) say 100 years from now, ‘sino nagboto sa plenary to reject secretary-designate Lopez’, lalabas nyan 24,” he said.
The senator’s explanation came in the wake of claims made by Lopez’ camp, bolstered by President Duterte that some business groups alleged to have supposedly used lobby money to influence some CA members to thumb down her confirmation.
Only eight of the 24 voting CA members (as CA chair, Pimentel only votes to break a tie) voted to confirm Lopez. The CA rejection of Lopez has become even more controversial after President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that lobby money from mining firms was the main reason why 16 CA members voted against her. The voting was done in secret balloting.