MANILA - The squabble between Nayong Pilipino Foundation chairperson Yvette Ocampo and the foundation’s board of trustees member, Maria Fema Duterte, has reached Malacañang.
Maria Fema, a relative of President Rodrigo Duterte who was appointed last December, was sued by Ocampo for cyber libel over accusations that the latter went on illegal trips.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that reports of the ongoing rift between Ocampo and Maria Fema have reached the Office of the Executive Secretary.
“We encourage persons with information to come forward and file a complaint with the Office of the President,” Roque said in a statement.
Maria Fema, whose term expires this coming July 1, has been accusing Ocampo and several other Nayong Pilipino board members of flying to Jeju Island in Korea in September last year without travel authority from the Palace.
She alleged that during the Korea trip, Nayong Pilipino officials struck a deal with a contractor for the creation of a theme park in Metro Manila. She said the contract was awarded last November 2017 under questionable terms.
Ocampo, in her defense, said the NPF has not yet entered into any contract as they are still in the process of selecting the best developer for the Filipino theme park.
Ocampo’s camp has also denied that the South Korea trip violated the Palace’s guidelines on government travels.
NPF spokesperson Kristine Joyce Reaño has said the Sept. 29, 2017 Korea trip was not covered by any travel restriction.
Reaño noted that the trip took place after the President repealed on Sept. 19, 2017 the Arroyo-era Administrative Order 103-2004, which contained austerity measures including restrictions on unnecessary foreign travels.
The Palace then released a memorandum in January 2018 outlining revised rules for foreign travels of officials and personnel under the executive branch.