Palace denies withdrawing Pastrana appointment to PPA

Katrina Domingo and Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 08 2022 04:15 PM | Updated as of Jul 08 2022 05:24 PM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Malacañang on Friday denied reports claiming that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has withdrawn his nomination for Christopher "Chet" Pastrana to be the general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

"There is no statement and there is no information on that one," Angeles said in a press conference. "So it's status quo as of the moment."

But about an hour after the presser, the PPA released a statement saying Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista has designated Port Manager Manuel A. Boholano as Officer in Charge, General Manager of the PPA.

"Mr. Boholano shall perform and discharge the functions and responsibilities of an OIC-GM until 31 July 2022 or until a permanent GM has been appointed or designated, whichever comes first," the PPA said in a tweet.

"Boholano became a Port Manager in 2005 and currently designated at the Port Management Office of Eastern Leyte/Samar since 2020. He has been with PPA since 1988," the tweet read.

Before his nomination to the helm of the PPA in June 2022, Pastrana served as the chairperson of the Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corporation, the operator of FastCat ferries.

Bautista met with PPA officials on July 7, but Pastrana was noticeably absent from the event.

“As we wait for the appointment of your General Manager, which will happen in the next couple of days, please make sure to further reduce shipping and travel costs nationwide and maintain the high quality of service in all ports,” Bautista told PPA officials, without mentioning Pastrana's name.

Several reports earlier claimed that Pastrana's company owed the Department of Transportation some P132 million for the unpaid amortizations of at least 2 vessels.

Under the law, the head of the PPA is entitled to have a seat in the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), which has power over the registration of vessels, the suspension or revocation of local ship operators' licenses, among others.