After ordering the closure and suspension of 28 mining firms in the country, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is unsure how long she will remain in the Cabinet of President Rodrigo Duterte, noting that politics makes her standing unclear within the administration.
In a press briefing in Malacañang, Lopez admitted that her decision to cancel 23 mines and suspend five others had a big impact on the industry.
"Twenty-three mines, oh my god 'no. But I was thinking I don’t know how long I’m gonna last here. You know my Commission on Appointments is coming. If I'm in ABS-CBN, I’m just a treehugger diba? But now I’m DENR secretary 'no?" said Lopez, a scion of the family that owns the broadcast network.
"So let me use my position now because I don’t trust politics. You know remember the first time my name was not given in? Nagulat ako. I said I was doing really well I rated the top in Pulse Asia but then my name was not given so I said… I saw the politics is so totally malabo," she added.
Malacañang on Thursday said Duterte is intervening with the decision to close and suspend the mining firms, describing it as a collective decision of the President and the Cabinet.
Lopez said she understands that President Rodrigo Duterte can overturn her decision. Asked if she is going to quit if Duterte will allow the mining firms to operate, Lopez replied: "I'm here because one, I like the President. He's really, really, really genuine. He's really real. He has a stand on social justice.
As long as I can feel I can continue to serve the country, I will. I won't cop out. I'll stay as long as I can make a difference."
She also said, "If he decides no, I will be quite sad. It's premature to say anything. Nobody told me to quit pa."
Lopez, meanwhile, described the politics even within the administration is "unpredictable."
"Politics is a dimension of money and power and it's just magulo 'no. Let's see. I like the job. I like the fact that you can say, 'You can't do this, you can't do that.' I have so much money! I like the money! I really love the money to be able to make a difference," she said.
"The political scenario is unpredictable. You'll never know what will happen," she added.
She admitted that politics was a big consideration before she accepted Duterte's offer to join his Cabinet.
"My stand in life is truth, service, and the common good. Before I took on the job, I have a meditation teacher. And he was telling me, 'Regina,' he calls me Regina, 'Politics is really messy.' My main considering factor was, 'Will I survive here?' My spirituality is the reason why I live. I did not want to get into a job where that would be sacrificed," she said.
"The reason why I agreed is because in one meditation, I saw, I felt like the heart of the country. I felt that as long as I stay true, I would be able to make a difference. And it might be good for me spiritually. But I have to stay true," she added.
Source: Trisha Macas, GMA News