Duterte thinks there was a conspiracy in Gina Lopez's ouster

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte believes there was a conspiracy behind the removal of an Environment Secretary from office.

Speaking at the 31st anniversary of the Department of Environment and Natural resources Wednesday, the President said, "Noong si ma'am Gina tinanggal ng Commission on Appointments, maybe because she came too strong on the business sa mining industry, I think there was a conspiracy to remove her, and they did."

[Translation: When ma'am Gina was removed by the Commission on Appointments (CA), maybe because she came on too strong on the business of the mining industry, I think there was a conspiracy to remove her, and they did.]

Duterte said Lopez was doing well as Secretary of Environment – going after those who wanted to destroy her native land.

Lopez's appointment as DENR Secretary was rejected by the Commission on Appointments in March 2017 amid issues over her controversial policies and alleged incompetence.

Former Armed Forces Chief Roy Cimatu took on the role as Environment Secretary in May 2017.

Open-pit mining ban

At the same event, the President said he would eventually put a stop to open-pit mining.

"There will be a time that I will have to ban open-pit mining," Duterte said.

Duterte he could see signs of open-pit mines in mountains whenever he would travel by chopper.

The President said this type of mining "really destroys the land."

He added, "Anyway, we're getting something like 70 billion sa mining industry. Makukuha natin sa ibang bagay siguro yan. I mean, with the hard work of (Inernal Revenue Commissioner Cesar) Dulay and (Customs Commissioner Isidro) Lapeña, I think we could, maybe at least, a third of what...we would have lost if we..."

The President went on to say those involved in open-pit mining knew he would eventually put a stop to it.

"Maybe they'll try to revive it at some other time, but that's really not my concern anymore. I'll just do what I have to do during my time," he said.