‘Black propaganda’? Ex-SSS commissioner denies requesting millions for projects

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2018 08:26 PM

MANILA—Former Social Securities System (SSS) commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña on Saturday denied requesting for millions to fund projects, saying allegations against him are a "rehash of black propaganda."

Earlier in the day, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement that La Viña's appointment was not renewed because he allegedly demanded P26 million to fund a social media project "with him as TV host" and a P1.6-million monthly allocation for a media advertising program.

La Viña denied that he proposed a P26 million budget for a social media project and clarified that the P1.6-million advertising program did not push through.

"I did strongly and openly advocate for an effective social media strategy for SSS, but management never came up with a concrete proposal so there was never anything to approve or disapprove," he said in a statement.

The former official also denied that he pushed for the accreditation of 7 brokers to handle SSS investments, saying he only joined committee discussions that examined several possibilities of improving the agency's policy on stockbroker accreditation.

He also hinted that allegations against him may have been circulated by investment officers and personalities he had charged in the past.

"The accusations are nothing but a rehash of black propaganda . . . " he said.

"They have been circulating this in a white paper as early as October or November of 2017."

La Viña earlier denied the allegations and said that he was removed from the post for refusing to toe the line by filing cases against other SSS officials.

Last month, La Viña filed administrative complaints against 21 SSS officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.


La Viña noted that allegations against him show that he did not use his office to steal money from the pension fund.

"It is clear from the very accusations that I did not steal a single cent or business opportunity that rightfully belongs to
SSS members," he said.

Roque's accusations, according to La Viña, are not from President Rodrigo Duterte, as the chief executive "will not pass judgment without first verifying data supporting an accusation."

The presidential spokesperson's allegations are also in contrast to what Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go reportedly told La Viña.

"Secretary Roque's statement will send chills down the spine of anyone serious about fighting corruption in this country," he said.

"During our conversation, SAP Bong assured me that the president was not accusing me of corruption. He added that I was still considered a friend and that I should let him know if I were interested in a new position."

La Viña said he had asked Go to help clear his name and for clarification over Roque's statements.