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Chamber of mines files complaint against Lopez

/ 10:58 PM March 13, 2017

The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) on Monday filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a complaint against Regina Lopez for
“undue injury” that its members sustained from her actions as environment secretary.

Last February, Lopez announced through a press conference that she wanted 23 metallic mines closed — 15 of them because they were
“operating in a watershed” area— and five others suspended.

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Also last month, Lopez said she wanted 75 mineral production sharing agreements canceled because all of these concerned areas are located in
watersheds.

Before that, Lopez similarly announced in September 2016 that an audit of operating mines resulted in recommendations for 20 projects to be
suspended.

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COMP chair Artemio F. Disini and vice president Ronald Recidoro submitted a nine-page complaint detailing Lopez’ alleged offenses.

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

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

The large-scale miners said Lopez violated Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Act) and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and
Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).

They said she did so by committing acts that were “are contrary to law and prohibited,” as follows:

* pre-empting the result of an official audit by suspending or threatening to suspend several mining firms;

* releasing the result of an official audit publicly without giving chance for the subject of the audit to know and defend themselves against the allegations and accusations thereby destroying the reputation and businesses of several mining companies;

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* making false and unfounded allegations about the mining industry and the mining firms;

* making biased statements in bad faith and with clear manifest prejudice against the mining corporations; and

* ordering the closure of several mining corporations without basis in law and/or without due process, only because [Lopez] believes that
“you cannot have mining operations in a functional watershed.”

“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 their filing.

“In fact, one of her very first act as DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] Secretary was to place all mining corporations
under audit, whether or not they have already submitted the required documents showing they have passed industry standards.

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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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