PNoy delayed action vs Mark Lapid, says Lim

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Aug 17 2011 11:31 AM | Updated as of Aug 17 2011 07:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III delayed taking action against Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) chief operating officer Mark Lapid on his alleged questionable activities because of bigger political considerations, resigned Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said Wednesday.

Lim said he had informed the President about Commission on Audit (COA) findings that showed alleged "misdeeds" in TIEZA, formerly known as the Philippine Tourism Authority. He said the COA findings are just part of the discoveries made by the agency "that have never been attended to."

Asked how the President reacted to the COA report on TIEZA, Lim said: "What he did say was there are other considerations, bigger political considerations and to time it properly. I understand. There's much bigger fish to catch."

The resigned tourism chief said it would be better if new officials are appointed to TIEZA, which already has a new mandate under the Tourism Act of 2009.

"There's a new mandate. It's no longer infrastructure but investments, incentives. (We need) someone who understands tourism estate development. It needs new blood. The whole agency needs new blood," he said in an ANC interview.

He also denied that the President's inaction on Lapid's case triggered his resignation.

Mark Lapid, son of Sen Lito Lapid, was appointed acting general manager of the PTA in June 2008, replacing Ace Durano. He was elected COO of TIEZA last Feb. 22, 2010 and will remain with the agency until 2014.

A Vera Files report earlier said Lim was told to wait because Malacañang needed the vote of Lapid's father on the bill postponing the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

Lapid is one of 13 senators who voted in favor of postponing the ARMM polls.