Diño still with Duterte despite ouster from SBMA
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Martin Diño remains part of the Duterte administration, after losing his post to lawyer Wilma Eisma, SBMA administrator, with whom he had a leadership dispute.
Diño said President Duterte and other Malacañang officials had offered him the position of undersecretary for barangay affairs of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“If I were a soldier, I will obey,” Diño told a local radio station here, after Malacañang appointed Eisma as SBMA chair on Monday. Yesterday, Diño said he had accepted the DILG post.
Malacañang, however, denied that Mr. Duterte had appointed Diño to the DILG post or any position in government.
Diño, a former barangay captain, said he would “mobilize all barangay chiefs and councilors to be on the forefront of the government’s fight against criminality, illegal drugs and corruption.”
He said his new post at the DILG would allow him to help Mr. Duterte deal with allegations that extrajudicial killings had become part of the war
“I will ask the help of the police. We will work hand in hand. Barangay officials can be witnesses in police operation. We will know if drug suspects really resist arrest or are killed deliberately,” he said.
He said about 5 million barangay officials could also help gather information to help the government fight crime.
Diño, who was also chair of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said he would still pursue the cases he filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against 13 SBMA officials.
In July, Diño filed complaints against the officials for malversation, grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave abuse of authority over what he described as their “unaccounted assets” and for lapses in disbursement transactions.
“The cases should continue because I did not invent these. There is a COA (Commission on Audit) report. All they [SBMA officials] have to do is answer the charges,” he said.
“I came from VACC and the marching order from the President is to get rid of corruption in the government … Even if I’m no longer in SBMA, I will still look into contracts in SBMA that are disadvantageous to the government. I will make sure that all of the contracts there are legitimate. That’s what we want, to have fair game.”
Eisma’s appointment as SBMA chair came after the repeal of Executive Order No. 340 that fueled her conflict with Diño. EO 340 separated the powers and administrative jurisdiction of the chair of the SBMA board and the SBMA administrator, which Executive Order No. 42, consolidated once more under Eisma’s leadership.
Section 3 of EO 42 provides for the appointment by the President of “the administrator of the SBMA, who shall be the ex-officio chair of the SBMA Board.”
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce had complained about the leadership feud between Eisma and Diño, and had welcomed Eisma’s appointment. The business group had asked the House of Representatives and Malacañang to step into the feud and to clarify the roles of both parties for “the sake of the investors in Subic free port.”
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