Lack of DUE PROCESS is the loud cries of miners particularly its owners affected by the closures and suspension orders of DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to about 23 mining operations of which about 15 mining operations are said to be operating within watershed areas.
Likewise the environment heroine DENR Secretary also served show cause orders to 75 Mineral Production Sharing Agreements why their Agreements should not be cancelled as it threatens the safety of watersheds.
It is now well known to the mining industry and a common knowledge to the general public that the closure and suspension orders made by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez was the result of the mining audit conducted by the Secretary and her mining audit teams.
By law due process is required before any verdict has to be handed down whether it involves administrative, civil or criminal offense.
Any and all individuals are presumed to be innocents unless proven guilty.
Then why is it that an individual is being issued warrant of arrest, subsequently arrested and then put to jail even if the guilt of the said individual has not been proven yet.
In fact there are those charged with certain criminal offenses are not allowed bail pending trial for the determination of sufficient probable cause like cases of murders, plunders and the likes.
The former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was arrested and immediately placed under hospital arrest even if the court has not yet heard any of her reason why she should not be allowed liberty or freedom for a crime being alleged that she committed.
In certain administrative cases, the involved employees are being placed under preventive suspension pending conclusion of the investigations.
I am not a lawyer, but it is not completely right to say that due process are not being observed whether closures or suspensions of mining operations have been ordered by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.
The fact that the concern DENR Secretary ordered months’ long mining audit of several mining companies simply means that the Secretary may be in possession of damning information and evidences that warrants closures and suspensions of certain mining companies and that continued operation of said mining companies might result to the total destruction of the surrounding environment and natural resources affected by the operations of the mines under closure and suspension orders.
The affected mining operations however deserves to be given the required due process by being given them access to the result of the mining audit; and allowing them to contest the result of the mining audit and to provide the grounds on why their mining operations should not be closed or suspended.
In the same light that the DENR Secretary in serving show cause orders on why the Agreements with 75 MPSA should not be cancelled by invoking the pertinent provision of the law that mining operation within the watershed is unlawful and therefore the 75 MPSA should be cancelled.
Nonetheless, the closures and suspensions of mining operations as well as the MPSA Agreements cancellation will of course be appealed to the president and or may end up to the legal scrutiny all the way to the Philippines Supreme Court.
Meanwhile I am saying, Yes to Gina, No to Mina; and YES to Responsible Mining.