Thrown to the Lions

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.

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