CA bypasses Lopez as Environment chief

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed on Tuesday the appointment of controversial Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Lopez was on a scheduled U.S. trip and was unable to attend the confirmation hearing.

Congress ends its session the next day, March 15, to go into a one-and-a-half-month break.

During the hearing, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez told the committee on natural resources that procedure was not followed when Lopez ordered to close down 23 mining operations.

He said the Labor and Social Welfare departments were not consulted on the fate of workers and families who would be affected by the closure.

Dominguez is vice chairman of the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) — a body created during the Aquino administration to recommend mining policies.

He added that President Duterte had directed the MICC to review all mining contracts.

Related: Duterte considering total mining ban

Meanwhile, committee chairman Sen. Manny Pacquiao said Lopez would receive a recorded copy of the day's proceedings as she was expected to again face the CA when Congress session resumes in May.

By that time, the commission should have a decision on her nomination.

Pacquiao said he had high hopes for Lopez as he had heard the President saying he would reappoint the embattled ad interim secretary again when she returns from her trip.

CNN Philippines' Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.