7 months: Gina Lopez says due process followed in auditing reports, welcomes scrutiny

  • DENR secretary denied skirting due process in cancellation and closure orders of mining operations
  • She said their team took seven months to investigate, make the audit reports
  • She invited everyone to view the records, said she will continue to do her job

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the outcry from the mining industry over her order to close 28 mines and cancel 75 mining contracts, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez insisted she followed due process when she issued the orders.

According to Lopez, her team’s exhaustive investigation and final audit reports took seven long months to compile and finish.

“Those who would want to see the (audit) report, they can come to the office and see it. I even have the files, which we gave the mining companies. The whole process took seven months. I followed due process,” she told the Philippine Star.

In the cancellation of the 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA), Lopez said the mining companies were amply given due notice to explain themselves.

“With regards the recent cancellation of the 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements, we first issued show cause orders for the companies to explain why their MPSA should not be cancelled on a watershed, which is critical for the welfare of the people. If you don’t reply, then we take action. If you reply, then we will investigate,” she said.

As for the threat of lobbyists to block her appointment before the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), Lopez remains unfazed and said she will continue to do her job of protecting the people.

“I’ll do my duty. I really feel there should be no mining in watersheds. The quality of life of the people is more important than the money they make. I’ll keep my stand. Let them do what they want to do,” she said.