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MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine lawmakers deliberating whether to confirm the appointment of the environment minister have decided to defer their decision, the head of a congressional panel said on Thursday.

The decision means President Rodrigo Duterte can reappoint Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez or choose a new person for the job.

"Definitely she will be bypassed," environmental committee head, Senator Manny Pacquiao, told reporters at the end of a two-day hearing. The committee agreed to meet again on Tuesday without Lopez, who is set to leave on Friday for the United States.

"She's leaving tomorrow for America and she can't attend next week so (she's) bypassed," Pacquiao said. "The president can just reappoint and then that's it, it doesn't need to undergo public hearings."

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Writing by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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