Amid corruption allegations, Laviña resigns as irrigation chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2017 11:06 AM | Updated as of Mar 01 2017 11:45 AM

MANILA - Peter Laviña has resigned from his post as the administrator of the National Irrigation Authority (NIA), the agency's official said Wednesday.

"Mr Peter Lavina tendered his resignation sometime last week which took effect yesterday," NIA spokesperson Pina Bermudez said.

Ms. Estrella Icasiano will temporarily replace Laviña as administrator, Bermudez said.

Officials have yet to confirm the reason for Laviña's resignation, but the former NIA chief hinted that it may have something to do with rumors accusing him of extortion.

"There are rumors circulating that I have asked money from NIA contractors. These are not true! To spare the President from these embarrassing stories, particularly in these times of intensified attacks on him, I have quietly left government," Laviña said in his newly-created Facebook page, Irrigator Peter: Your Water Boy, and shared on his personal account.

"Thank you for the opportunity to serve the government, especially to President Duterte, whose trust I have never betrayed... This is your water boy, signing off!"

Laviña earlier promised to push for free irrigation to boost the country's rice self-sufficiency, as well as tapping hydro-power resources to provide electricity to far-flung villages.

Prior to his appointment to the NIA in December, Laviña stood as the spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign period leading to the May 2016 polls.

Before Laviña's stint as campaign and transition committee spokesperson, he first worked as a special assistant to then Davao City Mayor Duterte. Laviña eventually ran and won as councilor of Davao City.

In a speech last February 24, Duterte hinted that he fired somebody from the government but did not mention any name.

"When I said, there will be no corruption, there will be no corruption. As a matter of fact, I fired last night, one taga-Davao na, for simply making a remark about a... and I told him even a whiff of corruption, talagang tatanggalin kita. I am doing my part," said Duterte.