MANILA – Martin Diño, a man instrumental in the 2016 electoral bid of President Rodrigo Duterte, is no longer the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairperson.
Duterte has appointed SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma as concurrent Chairperson of the agency for a term expiring on June 30, 2022, an appointment document released by Malacañang Tuesday showed.
Eisma’s appointment as SBMA Chairperson effectively ends the power struggle between the two top SBMA leaders. They had been at odds over certain decisions in the agency, issuing contradicting orders that had affected the agency’s operations.
It also comes in the wake of the President’s signing of Executive Order No. 42, which repeals EO 340 issued by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004.
The old EO had separated the “powers, functions and duties of the Chairman of the SBMA Board and the Administrator as Chief Executive Officer of the SBMA.”
In repealing the Arroyo order, Duterte noted that it “created confusion with regard to the scope of authority, powers, functions and duties of the Chairman of the SBMA Board and the Administrator of the SBMA that has adversely affected the operations of the SBMA, as well as of the numerous investors and locators therein.”
Diño assumed office on Oct. 3, 2016. A week into the position, he designated himself as SBMA Administrator.
The Office of the Executive Secretary stepped in and appointed Randy Escolango as OIC (officer-in-charge) administrator, prompting a power struggle within the agency.
Responding to an inquiry by Diño, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra in November reminded him that Escolango’s appointment as OIC Administrator was still in effect and that only the President was allowed to appoint an SBMA administrator.
Malacañang would appoint Eisma as SBMA Administrator the following month.
It is not yet clear what will happen to Diño now that he is out as SBMA Chairperson.
Diño, a former chairperson of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), served as the presidential candidate of Duterte's party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, in the May 2016 elections until then Davao City Mayor Duterte decided to run for the position, replacing him at the last minute.
His daughter Liza Diño-Seguerra was appointed Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson in August while her spouse Aiza Seguerra was appointed Chairperson of the National Youth Commission.