Pimentel tells miners: Fund area rehab instead of destabilization
MANILA — Agreeing that President Rodrigo Duterte had access to many intelligence reports, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that miners involved in funding the destabilization plot should better spend their money “just to comply with the law, to rehabilitate the places, plant trees, etc.”
“If you have extra money don’t spend it for destabilization efforts, just comply with the law. When you comply with the law, this government does not favor anyone, ” Pimentel told reporters.
Asked whether the confirmation of Environment Secretary Regina Lopez was related to destabilization moves since mining firms were against her appointment, he said it was possible since she was appointed by the President.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed suspicion, on Tuesday, that President Duterte was referring to a miner who had supported the presidential bid of Mar Roxas as the one backing destabilization efforts against his administration.
A day after Mr. Duterte said miners were funding destbilization efforts against his government following the surfacing of a hitman who claimed he was behind the Davao Death Squad, Lacson reminded reporters the Chief Executive might be basing his statement on intelligence reports — confirmed or still to be verified — which he has had regular access to.
Asked whether he had heard such information that miners were funding destabilization moves, he said he had no such information.
“Except I have a suspect of whom he was referring to..There was someone with the Liberal (Party) who is in mining who campaigned heavily for Mar Roxas. The President had already mentioned this in the (presidential) campaign. So whether this is true intel or just intrigue, we do not know,” Lacson added.
Asked whether he was referring to Francis Eric Gutierrez, owner of SR Metals Inc., a nickel mines operator whom Mr. Duterte named in 2016 as the one lending his plane to Roxas in his campaign sorties, Lacson said: “Well it seems he was the one being referred to be allegedly funding Sen. (Antonio) Trillanes IV and whoever he suspects as destabilizers.”
During the campaign, Mr. Duterte said the Aquino government could not stop the mining operations of Gutierrez because “Roxas has been using their airplane” and alleged this was a form of corruption.
But Lacson doubted any destabilization plot against the government would succeed.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, acting president of the Liberal Party, denied any LP involvement in the supposed destabilization moves against the government.
“Maybe the President is joking because Defense Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana said there was no destabilization move,” Pangilinan told reporters. SFM