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Gina has 50-50 chance – Manny

Senator Manny Pacquiao said Tuesday that Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez has a 50-50 chance of getting the nod of the Commission on Appointments for her Cabinet post.

This even as he said that he would vote for the confirmation of the secretary.

The CA is set to decide today, Wednesday, whether or not to confirm Lopez’s confirmation. “Bukas na pagdedesisyunan kung i-confirm or hindi,” Pacquiao told reporters.

When asked what he thinks is the chance that the body will approve Lopez’s appointment, the senator replied: “50-50”.

According to the senator, while some of his colleagues want to give their nod to Lopez’s appointment, there are also those who are opposed to it. “Meron ayaw, meron gusto iba iba eh,” Pacquiao said.

He assured, however, that personally, he supports the DENR Secretary because like Lopez, he is also an environmentalist.

Asked about reports that President Duterte’s political party, PDP-Laban, is endorsing lawyer Mark Kristopher Tolentino to the environment department in case Lopez fails to get the CA nod, Pacquiao said he is not aware of the issue.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had expressed fears that Lopez’s mining closure orders opened the country to international arbitration suits.

But Lopez cited a provision of the Mining Act which states that the DENR chief can cancel permits if the terms, agreements, and conditions are violated.

The welfare of the people should come first, she said.

She earlier said that revenues from agriculture and tourism could easily make up for losses from mining revenues where the sharing is against the Filipino people and that its one-sided sharing benefits foreign miners.

After comparing Philippine mining operations with other countries, Lopez said the country has yet to exploit the potential of its biodiversity.

After Assistant Majority Floor Leader Abraham Tolentino pointed out that there is a triad that is running the DENR, Lopez assured him that she has adopted a “one strike you are out policy’’ against erring DENR personnel. (ELENA ABEN)