Lacson raises issue of ‘personality disorder’ in vote vs Lopez
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Sunday further explained his vote to reject the confirmation of Regina “Gina” Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s allegation that “lobby money” was behind the Commission on Appointments’ (CA) rejection.
In a radio interview, Lacson cited a 1975 Supreme Court document involving a habeas corpus petition filed by a minor Lopez and Ananda Marga Pracaraka Samgha in the Philippines Inc., a socioreligious organization, against her own mother. The case mentioned Lopez’ confinement at the Dare Foundation, a drug rehabilitation facility, for being accused of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act.
“Hindi mo maiwasan ilabas mo ang dahilan bakit ka bumoto to reject. Halimbawa, naka-ready ako, GR-L-38850, babanggitin ko ‘yan, magkakahiyaan. Kasi ‘pag binasa mo ang SC ruling na ‘yan, jurisprudence ito lumabas noong 1975, nagbo-border sa may binabanggit doon na drug dependency or personality disorder,” Lacson said over radio DZBB.
“’Yan ba naman dedetalye ko pa ba kung bakit sa aking pananaw ‘di qualified ang appointee? Papahiyain mo pa na-reject na?” he added.
The SC document also showed that Lopez’ mother Conchita voluntarily submitted her to a Pasig Circuit Criminal Court in 1974 to have her committed to the rehabilitation facility due to alleged drug addiction “for the purpose of determining whether she is still a drug dependent or not and/or she is suffering from personality disorder or not.”
Lopez’ habeas corpus petition, however, was dismissed when she disappeared from Dare Foundation moments before she was about to be examined by doctors and expert psychiatrists. It was also dismissed for being moot and academic as Lopez had already reached the legal age.
Lacson said he did not raise the issue during the hearing because of its sensitive and personal nature, but added that President Duterte’s “lobby money talks” remark, which he described as “sweeping assault” against the CA’s integrity, prompted him to explain his vote against Lopez.
“’Di ko sasabihing fit siya sa kanyang ina-apply-an na position. At nabanggit kong kaso sa SC although matagal na ‘yan, 1975, ‘di na-resolve kasi dumating siya sa age of majority naging moot and academic. Kasi ‘di na rin siya sumailalim sa psychiatric test na dapat i-undergo niya kasi nawala siya. Bumalik siya,” he said.
“’Di na namin nilabas kasi masyadong personal. Sinasabi ko lang ngayon just to justify or explain my vote why I rejected her. Di dahil sa lobby money kundi may mga issue na ewan ko kung alam ng kasamahan ko ito pero I happen to know about it kasi nag-research ako,” Lacson added.
In a speech last Thursday, Duterte said: “Sayang si Gina. I really like her passion. But you know how it is. This is democracy and lobby money talks. I do not control everything. I am the head of the executive department, the President. Congress is controlled by the Senate President and the Speaker, the lower house and the upper house.”
Voting 16-8 through secret balloting, the CA on Wednesday rejected with finality the appointment of Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Her 10-month stint was marked by her strong anti-mining stance, particularly her controversial order to close mining firms and contracts.
Lacson also brought up Lopez’ all-expense paid trip to Paris last year by renewable energy company EcoGlobal Inc., which was also cited in the graft complaint filed against her before the Office of the Ombudsman. Vienna Tañada, former business manager of EcoGlobal Inc., alleged that Lopez pressured Energy Director Mario Marasigan last September to award EcoGlobal a service contract for a $100-million solar power plant in Zamboanga City.
The senator likewise noted the former environment secretary did not know what a critical watershed means, when asked during a CA hearing. Lacson said “it was not for Ms. Lopez to declare what is against the law.”
“Ang sabi niya buong PH critical watershed area. ‘Yan ang sinasabi natin. Ang mahirap dito ang mga bumabanat sa amin, ito ang ‘di nakaintindi na nadala ng propaganda, o ayaw talaga umintindi. Kasi sarado ang utak nila masarap pakinggan na passion, lumalaban para sa social justice, ang Constitution laging binabasa. Pero ang Constitution ito ang nagpo-provide ng delimitation ‘pag nagsasagawa kami ng batas ang Kongreso,” he said.
“It is not for Ms. Lopez to declare na ito labag sa batas. Ang nag-interpret ng batas, SC. Under a democracy, kaya sabi ko may pagka-authoritarian kasi sa demokrasya ang executive yan ang nag-e-execute. Ang Kongreso kami ang gumagawa ng batas. Ang nag-i-interpret, final arbiter, Korte Suprema o court. Di pwedeng sa isang tao ang siyang nagsasabing ito dapat ang batas, ito interpretation ko ng batas, ito ang Constitution,” Lacson added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.