Former solon lauds NIA workers for pushing raps vs Antiporda
MANILA, Philippines — Former Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on Wednesday praised workers of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for filing a complaint against their chief, Benny Antiporda, for grave misconduct, among other complaints.
The Office of the Ombudsman issued an order on Tuesday that put Antiporda on preventive suspension for six months without pay.
“The suspension of National Irrigation Administration OIC Benny Antiporda by the Ombudsman shows that power should never be abused, especially by government officials,” Gaite said in a statement.
Gaite now heads a government workers’ union — Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage).
“Government officials, under the RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees ‘shall at all times be accountable to the people and shall discharge their duties with utmost responsibility, integrity, competence, and loyalty, act with patriotism and justice, lead modest lives, and uphold public interest over personal interest’,” Gaite said.
The suspension order cited several issues that led to the complaints against Antiporda.
One issue that NIA officials and employees questioned was whether to drop the word “Acting” in “Acting Administrator,” which they claimed Antiporda had ordered.
The complainants said that Antiporda retaliated by barring managers of the Central Office from traveling, which they said was “counterproductive to their work.” Several officials were also reassigned supposedly without valid grounds.
Another issue cited was Antiporda accusing two lawyers of corruption and having the NIA file graft complaints against them for losing a crucial case early in 2022.
The Office of the Ombudsman said it found reasons to investigate Antiporda— thus necessitating his suspension to avoid his interference.
In reaction, Gaite said: “We also praise the Ombudsman in this instance for its prompt action. The case must be fully investigated and serve as a lesson for other government officials.”
INQUIRER.net tried to get Antiporda’s side, but he was not able to respond. However, in an earlier press conference, Antiporda claimed that the accusations against him were merely exaggerated, saying that the complainants were just against his crusade to end corruption at NIA.
—WITH A REPORT FROM TRISHA MANALAYSAY (TRAINEE)
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