MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that he offered Martin Diño a post at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) after the latter was removed as chairperson of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
“I offered him the undersecretary [post]. Iyun talaga ang sanay siya. Sa mga barangay captains, dito ka, yun lang. Wala namang issue diyan,” Duterte said in an interview with PTV4’s Erwin Tulfo, a preview of which was aired on the state-run channel.
Duterte was referring to the post of DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs.
The President appointed SBMA administrator Wilma Eisma as concurrent chairperson of the agency for a term that will expire on June 30, 2022.
Eisma’s appointment as SBMA chairperson effectively ended the power struggle between her and Diño. The two had been at odds over certain policies and decisions in the free port, issuing contradicting orders that had affected its operations.
Her appointment came in the wake of the President’s signing of Executive Order 42, which repealed EO 340 (s. 2004) issued by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
EO 340 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 EO 340, Duterte noted that the Arroyo-issued order “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.”
“Kailangan i-fuse ko position niya at position ng administrator kasi there's bickering,” Duterte said in the PTV4 interview.
“It was not really the fault of Diño, neither of the administrator (Eisma). But in the name of public interest, for the cohesive office, finuse ko, pinag-dikit ko nang isa.”
Duterte’s confirmation of his offer of DILG post to Diño contradicts an earlier pronouncement from Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, who said in a news conference around noon on Thursday that Duterte's DILG offer to Diño "has been superseded."
"As far as I am privy to, the offer was made earlier, much earlier. However, that was apparently before this situation occurred, where he was replaced," he told reporters.
Diño assumed office as SBMA chair on October 3, 2016. A week into his assumption of office, he designated himself as SBMA administrator.
The Office of the Executive Secretary then stepped in and appointed Randy Escolango as officer-in-charge (OIC) administrator, prompting a power struggle within the agency.
Responding to an inquiry by Diño, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra in November 2016 reminded Diño that Escolango’s appointment as OIC Administrator was still in effect and that only the President is allowed to appoint an SBMA administrator.
Malacañang later appointed Eisma as SBMA administrator on December 21, 2016.
Diño, a former chairperson of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), served as the presidential candidate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan in the last elections until he was replaced by then Davao City Mayor Duterte 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.