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SHUTDOWN, SUSPENSION OF MINE SITES

Chamber of mines files complaint vs Gina Lopez

gina lopez


Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez  INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday against Environment Secretary Gina Lopez for causing “undue injury” to its members.

In February, Lopez ordered 23 mines shut and five others suspended. She also canceled 75 contracts for mining projects located in watersheds.

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Last September, she announced that an audit of operations resulted in recommendations for the suspension of 20 mining projects.

On Monday, COMP chair Artemio F. Disini and vice president Ronald Decidoro submitted a nine-page complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman detailing Lopez’s alleged offenses.

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“Undeniably, several parties suffered undue injuries from the baseless and illegal actions of [Lopez], especially in closing several mining corporations,” the chamber said in the complaint.

Damages

“People have lost jobs and their only source of income due to the closing,” it said. “Further, the mining [companies] sustained damage [to] both their reputation and their business due to the false allegations against the mining industry as a whole.”

COMP said Lopez committed four violations of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Preempting the results of an official audit by suspending or threatening to suspend several mining companies;

Releasing the results of an official audit publicly without giving the mining companies concerned a chance to know the allegations against them and defend themselves against these, thereby destroying their reputation and business;

Making false and unfounded allegations against the mining industry and the mining companies; and

Ordering the closure of several mining companies without basis in law or without due process—only because [Lopez] believes “you cannot have mining operations in a functional watershed.”

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Manifest partiality

“It is clear from her statements alone, directed and made to the public, and in live television, that [Lopez] has acted with manifest partiality and evident bad faith against the mining industry,” the COMP said.

“In fact, one of her very first acts as [environment secretary] was to place all mining corporations under audit, whether or not they [had] already submitted the required documents showing they [had] passed industry standards,” it said.

Lopez could not be contacted for comment. She was in the United States.

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TAGS: Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Act, Artemio F. Disini, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Gina Lopez, mines, Philippine news updates
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