SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) decried on Wednesday the filing of complaints by Chairman Martin B. Diño against SBMA officials, calling it a “desperation move” by the latter in a bid to retain his post at the Subic agency.
Diño, who is engaged in a power struggle with SBMA Administrator & CEO Wilma T. Eisma, had reportedly named five SBMA officials in the case he filed before the Office of the Ombudsman for graft, grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave abuse of authority.
However, officials of the SBMA dismissed the charges as just another attempt by the beleaguered official to silence the growing clamor among both private and public sectors in Subic for him to leave the SBMA.
“We have yet to receive a copy of the complaint, but the initial information we have is that Chairman Diño filed a complaint against five of our managers,” Eisma said, adding that the filing “smacks of desperation, a move to make noise.”
Eisma noted that anyone can file a complaint before the Ombudsman, which investigates and prosecutes government officials accused of crimes. “But why resort to that, when as SBMA chairman he can order an investigation and settle this issue within the organization?” Eisma said.
“Chairman Diño often speaks about President Duterte’s supposed order for him to bring Subic to greater heights, but look at what he’s doing. He wants to stay in Subic, but he’s trying to hurt some SBMA officials and in the process destroys the image of the agency and the Subic Bay Freeport, as a whole,” she added.
Diño has named as respondents in the complaint the following SBMA officials: Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting; Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Marcelino Sangui; Ecology Center manager and Regulatory Group head Amethya dela Llana; Financial Planning and Budget Department manager Editha Marzal; and Internal Audit Service Department manager Joel Ea.
However, Eisma said the respondents still have no idea why Diño would file a case against them.
“My fear is that they are simply collateral damage in the ongoing problem we have with the Chairman,” Eisma added.
Diño and Eisma has been at odds since May after the SBMA chairman issued an administrative order creating an oversight task force under his office that Eisma said encroached upon his power and duties as SBMA administrator. The SBMA board of directors likewise said the order infringed on their own oversight functions and warned Diño not to make unilateral decisions that bypass the collegial policy-making body.
Before this, Diño had also quarreled with the OIC-administrator that Malacañang had appointed before Eisma for the same reason: the chairman had wanted to be administrator at the same time, and tried to wrest control of the SBMA management.
Because of this, members of the Concerned SBMA Employees filed an eight-point complaint against Diño before the Office of the Ombudsman on Dec. 28, 2016 for his “abusive actions and conduct unbecoming of a government official, which proved prejudicial to the agency and to the government, as a whole.”
Meanwhile, seven local government executives around the Subic Bay Freeport had expressed support to Eisma in the ongoing leadership tussle and decried Diño for making “a series of inappropriate, unfitting, baseless and disruptive actions” that adversely affected the SBMA.
SBMA Director Benny Antiporda said Diño’s filing of cases against SBMA officials “is symptomatic of his love-hate relationship with Subic.”
Antiporda explained that the filing of charges is the “hate part”, and noted that just last week, “Diño has been going around the media circuit and raving about how the SBMA has broken revenue records.” He also pointed out that before Diño issued glowing press releases about SBMA financial accomplishments, he had described the agency as “on the verge of financial collapse.”
“So that’s how it is—with him everything is fluid and unstable and baseless. You wouldn’t really know when Chairman Diño would love Subic, or when he would start hating it again,” Antiporda added.