Antiporda denies NIA workers’ accusations
MANILA, Philippines — Suspended National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Benny Antiporda denied on Wednesday the accusations made against him in a complaint filed by the agency’s workers.
The Office of the Ombudsman issued an order on Tuesday putting Antiporda under preventive suspension for six months without pay due to a complaint filed against him by NIA employees for grave misconduct, harassment, and oppression.
Antiporda called the accusations “misleading.”
“Very wrong, very misleading. It’s like I’m taking revenge on people. You know the names listed here, the majority have been promoted. And we can prove that in our affidavit to the Ombudsman,” he said in Filipino in a press conference.
“Things happened so quickly that we were not given a fair chance to give our side. Immediately, the preventive suspension was handed down supposedly so that I could not influence our people,” he added.
Antiporda also bared that until he held the press conference he had not yet received any information about the complaint letter, only the preventive suspension order.
“I believe that it’s not only the Ombudsman who did this. There are other hands behind this. I don’t believe that Ombudsman [Samuel] Martires will allow this to happen,” he said.
Antiporda admitted, however, the complaint that he did in fact make an employee of NIA repair his air-conditioning unit on a Sunday. But he said he paid P20,000.
He denied the complaint that he banned NIA employees from traveling. He clarified that only heads of office were not allowed to travel and not employees in general.
“They are needed in the office, and I also need them so that when I look for them, I have someone to talk to, and they are not in whatever place they should not have visited,” he said.
At the same press conference, he urged the Office of the Ombudsman to speed up the resolution of the complaint he filed against several personnel.
“The good thing that happened here is that we must also praise the Ombudsman for being able to make a decision and take action,” he said.
He swore to abide by the suspension order but made a request to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“But please, I’m appealing to you: Maybe you can take action on the complaint filed by NIA that was signed by your truly. That’s a personal complaint by a private person but a complaint by the people. The people’s money is at stake there,” he said.
Antiporda was referring to the filed criminal and administrative charges that NIA filed against two lawyers after the agency lost a case early this year, which resulted in the payment of P205 million in damages to a construction firm.
“I hope you don’t allow yourself to be used. The people know that what we’re doing at NIA is for the country,” he said.
Ombudsman suspends NIA chief over workers’ gripes
COA faults NIA again for 5th straight year
NIA seeks raps vs own lawyers for losing P205-M case
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.