Palace advice on SBMA appointment ignored
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Martin Diño may be ignoring a Malacañang advice for him to recognize lawyer Randy Escolango as the agency’s acting administrator.
Diño insisted that he was not obliged to heed the advice, contained in a Nov. 28 letter from Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, on the designation of Escolango.
“Please be advised that the designation of [Escolango] as officer in charge, office of the administrator, SBMA, has not been revoked by the Office of the President, and thus remains in full force and effect,” Guevarra said in the letter.
But Diño said: “I am being reminded by this person from Malacañang. If you are being reminded, you either take it or leave it.”
During a flag-raising ceremony here on Monday, Diño told SBMA officials and employees that he cut short his business trip to South Korea to address the issues that cropped up while he was away.
“Who are you going to follow? Whose appointment (letter) has the President’s signature?” Diño asked.
Earlier, Diño informed the Office of the President that he had assumed the functions of the administrator, citing Republic Act No. 7227 (Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992).
Diño also said he had issued orders and circulars addressed to SBMA department heads and employees since assuming his post on Oct. 3.
But on Nov. 29, Escolango said the more than 30 memorandums and office orders issued by Diño were null and void, arguing that the SBMA chair had no authority to implement these directives.
Escolango issued a memorandum recalling all orders and directives of Diño.
He also invalidated Diño’s designation of 14 consultants.
“Only the SBMA administrator has the power to detail, reassign, move or designate new duties for personnel,” Escolango said in a media briefing.
He complained that Diño had been interfering with the agency’s day-to-day operations, “encroaching upon the duties of SBMA administrator and chief executive officer.”
Escolango addressed the SBMA officials and employees during the flag-raising ceremony, saying he was ending the confusion as to who should function as the agency’s administrator.
“Let’s make our operation normal again. I was designated by Malacañang as OIC administrator of SBMA and I’m ready to continue to function as one,” Escolango said.
Several SBMA employees expressed disappointment over the leadership conflict in the agency.
“It is too confusing and melodramatic. This issue as to who the real administrator of SBMA should be resolved immediately. Otherwise, the employees and the agency will suffer,” said an SBMA employee, who asked for anonymity.
Elmer Libo, president of the SBMA Employees Association, said Diño and Escolango should work together and settle their differences.
“With Malacañang’s clarification that Escolango’s designation as OIC administrator is still in effect, we hope Chairman Diño will … honor [the] decision like a gentleman,” Libo said.
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