March 7, 2017
ATM Statement on the new rules of Commission on Appointments
Alyansa Tigil Mina strongly questions the new rules adopted by the powerful Commission on Appointments CA, a day before the scheduled hearing of DENR Sec. Gina Lopez. This move was designed to prevent the confirmation of DENR Sec. Gina Lopez.
The new rules include allowing “secret voting” in an executive session. Other new rules approved include the shortening of required notice from 3 days to one day and the automatic membership of CA members to all standing committees except the committee on rules.
These new rules erode the transparency and accountability of the CA. The intent of a plenary vote is to ensure that the candidate for the cabinet position is given a public judgment by the CA members, on his or her capacity to perform the duties as a Secretary of a department.
Reducing the act of this confirmation to secret voting raises questions on the ability of the CA members to be objective, impartial displays conflict-of-interest. It is in the public interest that a public and nominal voting of the CA members be conducted.
As it is, there is reason to believe that several members of the CA are compromised. Some of them own mining companies. Several come from families whose business interests include operating mines. Other CA members received campaign contributions from individuals who are publicly known to be involved in mining operations.
This situation clearly illustrates that mining interests are closely intertwined with national and local politics. Some of the CA members who will cast their “secret votes” were affected by the mining closures and suspensions ordered by Sec. Gina Lopez. At this critical juncture of the CA hearings, we are witnessing the political vengeance of vested interests on mining against social justice.
The new rules are simply a tactic of the CA to prevent the confirmation of Sec. Gina Lopez. At the end of the day, the rural poor communities and the Philippine environment are the big losers.
For details, contact:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator