Arcilla: Cimatu should seek ‘very good legal advice’ on decisions

By on August 3, 2017

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu should seek “very good legal advice” before he follows through on the controversial orders of his immediate predecessor Regina Paz “Gina” L. Lopez, a mining expert said.

“The orders were unclear or were ambiguous. And it causes a lot of confusion. So what’s the root of that? The root cause is either the persons who did this is incompetent or they chose to obfuscate,” newly installed Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo A. Arcilla told reporters in Makati City on Tuesday.

“If his legal person is the same as that [of] Gina then, then that’s the problem,” added Arcilla, who also serves as a professor at the National Institute of Geological Studies at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

To recall, Lopez during her term as Environment Secretary ordered the shutdown of 23 mines and the cancellation of 75 mineral sharing production agreements (MPSAs).

She also ordered the centralization of the processing of environmental compliance certificates (ECCs), limiting the power to issue them only to the Environment Secretary.

An ECC certifies that a proposed project will not cause a significant negative impact on the environment.

This decision was reversed by Cimatu, effectively bringing back the power to approve ECCs to regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Sought for comment, attorney and Environment Undersecretary for Legal, Legislative Affairs and Anti-Corruption Maria Paz Luna, who was appointed by Lopez, said she does not feel alluded to.

“Now, five undersecretaries and [the] MGB [Mines and Geosciences Bureau] director are all lawyers. Mr. Arcilla is guessing,” she said in a text message.

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