Aquino asked to review, recall BCDA exec’s appointmentBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A lawyer has asked President Benigno Aquino to recall the designation of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Arnel Casanova for allegedly occupying the position “without legal basis.”
In his letter to the President, Howard Calleja argued that Casanova’s appointment was in violation of Republic Act No. 7227, the law that created the BCDA, which supposedly stated that the state-run corporation should be headed by its chair of the board as president.
“The illegal practice of splitting these positions mentioned should be stopped and should not be continued as it has no basis in law,” Calleja said.
In his letter, Calleja said the practice of appointing a separate chair and president of the BCDA started during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“The positions of chair and president of BCDA were suddenly divided without legal basis—providing two presidential appointees for only one position,” Calleja said.
“It is unmistakably clear that there is a discrepancy between the law and the appointment of Mr. Casanova … It was never the intention of the lawmakers of the charter to separate the positions mentioned,” he said.
Sought for comment, Casanova dismissed Calleja’s allegations as “ridiculous,” claiming the lawyer’s action could be part of a supposed collective move of some unscrupulous individuals to unseat him.
“There’s really a concerted effort to remove me as president of the BCDA,” he said over the phone.
“Obviously, there are some parties who want me to be removed … because of the reforms that we are enforcing in the BCDA and as part of our consistent efforts to implement the President’s policy of tuwid na daan,” he added.
A former legal counsel of the BCDA, Casanova recently filed an estafa case against the officials of the Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevco) for the alleged double sale of a multimillion-peso log house in Baguio City.
Casanova, also the BCDA chief executive officer, questioned Calleja’s motive in filing a criminal and administrative complaint against him in the Office of the Ombudsman.
“I find it ridiculous. Any lawyer worth his salt would not file that kind of ridiculous case. If he’s questioning the validity of my appointment, you don’t bring it to the Ombudsman,” he argued.
Calleja, however, said Casanova usurped authority in assuming the top BCDA post that should also belong to Felicito Payumo, the current chair of BCDA.
“Mr. Casanova not only usurped the authority of the chair but also usurped the functions and responsibilities of Chairman Payumo … and even represented himself as having full authority to assume the position of president of BCDA but in truth and in fact he assumed a position without color of law,” the lawyer said in his complaint.
Casanova said he did not commit any crime. “I don’t think serving the public is a crime.”
As head of the government’s executive department, Casanova said Mr. Aquino’s decision to appoint officials in the bureaucracy “enjoys the presumption of regularity and legality.” With Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon