Marcos Jr. appoints ex-Ilocos Norte town mayor as NIA head replacing Antiporda
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed former Piddig, Ilocos Norte mayor Eduardo Eddie Guillen as new head of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), replacing Benny Antiporda, who was ordered suspended for six months.
In an order dated December 9 and released by the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) on Monday, Guillen was appointed to be the acting administrator of NIA.
“Pursuant to the provision of existing laws, you are hereby appointed as acting administrator and member, Board of Directors, National Irrigation Administration, vice Benny D. Antiporda,” the President’s order said.
The replacement of Antiporda came less than a month after he was placed on a six-month preventive suspension without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman after NIA employees and officials filed complaints against him for grave misconduct and alleged harassment.
Complainants claimed that as a retaliation, Antiporda barred managers of the Central Office from traveling, which “is counterproductive to their work,” while several officials were reassigned and transferred supposedly without valid grounds.
Antiporda’s accusations of corruption against two lawyers, whom the NIA head had charged in graft complaints for losing a crucial case early in 2022, were also mentioned in the order.
However, Antiporda disputed the accusations, saying that the issues raised were misleading as they were bloated to make him look bad. According to the NIA official, some issues — like claims that he asked NIA personnel to fix his air conditioning system — were blown out of proportion.
He said he did ask NIA personnel to fix his personal air conditioning unit, but it was on a Sunday and he gave them separate pay — to help workers gain some income.