What happened to Secretary Gina Lopez at the Commission on Appointments recently is an abject lesson in real politics of which she came unprepared. Lopez went through hell at the CA , and in the colorful language of former Senator Rene Saguisag, ” came out barbecued “. And while the bacchanalian feast was going on without let-up, President Duterte was a distant by stander , far from the line of fire, giving the impression that his appointee’s business at the CA is none of his. Obviously, he did not lift a finger to rescue her beleaguered Secretary, Yet irony of ironies, he continued to profess admiration for Gina’s passion for the environment. After the Secretary’s nomination was finally rejected, the usually combative President could only explained that he does not meddle with the work of Congress as a way, perhaps, of assuaging the embarrassment. That lame explanation is difficult to swallow coming from a President who has effectively controlled Congress. His Super Majority coalition has some of his most rabid supporters sitting in the CA who are just too willing to please the President and do his bidding. All that the President needed to do is give his guidance and it will be done. The powers and prerogatives of the Presidency are too pervasive to be ignored by legislators who seem to have endless wants which the President could satisfy.
How Gina was left alone to fight a lonely and brutal battle made one wonder whether Gina had become dispensable, ready to be thrown to the lions. Or could it be that the President did not simply care for her survival? On hindsight, it must be Gina’s fault that he failed to perceive the difference. Whichever, the dye is cast for her.
It was Sen. Panfilo Lacson who made some of the more telling remarks against Sec. Lopez. ” Passion and enthusiasm, noted Lacson, ” do not necessarily transform into competence and fitness for the job “. It was also observed that the Secretary has
” authoritarian tendencies” for exercising her prerogatives without basis in law, particularly her closing of several mining companies. But the more telling argument came from the President himself when he revealed that ” lobby money talked the loudest” thus muting many good points for Gina.
If indeed the President knew that stacks of money were arrayed against her nominee, how come nothing was done about it? The President could have seized the moment to denounce the shenanigans at the CA, take the moral high ground and carry the day for Gina. But it was not meant to be. Gina’s fate had long been sealed before she even appeared for her confirmation hearings.