Lawyer questions BCDA leadership structureBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A lawyer on Monday said that Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Arnel Paciano Casanova had no business running the agency because his appointment was invalid.
Lawyer Howard Calleja on Monday filed a criminal and administrative complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Casanova, saying the latter should be held liable for usurpation of authority and violation of the antigraft law, as well as dishonesty and grave misconduct, for performing the functions of the BCDA president without basis.
Calleja also asked the Ombudsman to suspend Casanova while it was investigating the complaint.
Casanova was appointed BCDA president in April 2011, the same month that Felicito Payumo was named BCDA chair.
In his complaint, Calleja said the BCDA charter stipulates that the agency’s chairman of the board should also be its president.
But it appears that the position was split between Casanova and Payumo, he noted. This was a violation of the law and Casanova’s appointment should be voided, he said.
“There is no provision in law or a provision in the charter of the BCDA that supports the splitting of the positions of chairman and president,” he said.
He said Payumo should head the BCDA since he is chairman.
Reached for comment, Casanova insisted his appointment was valid.
In fact, Casanova said he was already the third BCDA president to be appointed since the functions of the chairman and the president were split during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Former BCDA presidents were Rufo Colayco and Gen. Narciso Abaya.
“It’s a valid presidential appointment that I have to perform as a public duty. I’m legally and morally obliged to perform a public function for the interest of public service,” said Casanova, himself a lawyer and former BCDA chief legal counsel. With a report from Doris Dumlao