By Hannah Torregoza
Senators expressed hope that newly–appointed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu would be as passionate as his predecessor in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was for the environment.
Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said that as far as he is concerned, Cimatu has “big shoes to fill in” since the Commission on Appointments (CA) controversial rejection of the ad interim appointment of Regina “Gina” Lopez.
“I’m wishing newly appointed DENR Chief Roy Cimatu all the best in his new challenging role,” Ejercito said in a text message.
“He’s got big shoes to fill after Gina Lopez who has opened the eyes of the Filipino people on the dangers of mining abuse,” he said, adding that he hopes Cimatu “would not be intimidated by the mining giants” in the Philippines.
Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV said he also hopes Cimatu would have the same zeal in fighting for the environment as the former secretary was.
“I hope that Gen. Cimatu would be as passionate as Secretary Lopez, sana ipaglaban niya yung kalikasan,” Aquino said in an interview with reporters.
Asked if they believe Cimatu would be able to hurdle the CA’s scrutiny, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff won’t be exempted from intensive grilling from members of the bicameral body.
“Yes, pero syempre lahat scrutinize basta CA (but of course, everything would be scrutinized in the CA) no matter how trivial,” Sotto said.
Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II also said he cannot predict if the CA deliberations on Cimatu’s nomination would be a breeze.
“I cannot say because the CA being a collegial and consensual body, its members may individually want to raise certain issues with the nominee,” Honasan said.