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2 governors vow to oppose CA nod for DENR chief

/ 10:26 PM August 17, 2011

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The two governors of Zamboanga Peninsula on Friday said they were determined to oppose the confirmation of Environment Secretary Ramon Paje by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Paje failed to get CA nod last week.

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Zamboanga del Sur Gov. Antonio Cerilles, who once served as environment secretary, said his opposition to Paje’s confirmation was based “on the ground of incompetence.”

Cerilles said Paje has no integrity, too, because “he failed to act in good faith over our several complaints and call for revocation of the Special Extraction of Ore Permit (Seop) that caused tensions in Bayog town.”

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“We are strongly opposed to Paje’s nomination,” he told Inquirer by phone.

Cerilles said Paje knew that under existing laws “there is no such thing as Seop that may be issued within the letter or spirit of the laws mentioned.”

“Despite Paje’s knowledge of the law, he tolerated the issuance of then secretary Lito Atienza of a Seop in favor of Lupa Pigegitawan Mining Co.,” Cerilles said.

But Paje said he had issued a cease-and-desist order against Lupa contrary to Cerilles’ statement. “We acted on it already,” said Paje.

He said, however, that the DENR was caught in a bind because the case against Lupa has been filed in court and DENR was awaiting the court decision.

According to Cerilles, Paje also showed he was incompetent to lead the agency when he “slept on the complaints” of Zamboanga del Sur officials over the mining tension in Bayog.

Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Rolando Yebes said he did not want Paje to continue leading the DENR because of what the governor said was politicking.

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He said Paje had deputized Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy against small-scale mining operations in the province even if it has no basis in law.

Paje, answering Yebes, said the order deputizing Mayor Uy was legal and issued by a regional DENR official. “That is their right. We will answer their issues,” he said. Julie S. Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao and Kristine L. Alave

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TAGS: DENR, environment, Ramon Paje, Regions
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