MANILA—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair and administrator Wilma Eisma on Saturday said it's not true that she was appointed to her current position because of a political favor.
When asked by radio DZMM hosts if she thinks Senator Richard Gordon urged President Duterte to appoint her, Eisma said: "No, I’m not willing to accept that because Senator Gordon did no such thing. He may have nominated me but everything is on my own. The bottom line is I am qualified for this job."
"So if you ask me if why was I appointed, I’m qualified. I can very well do this job. And I think the president looks at that more than anything else."
Eisma, who served as executive assistant to Gordon during his time as SBMA chairman, said she is a "proud protégé" of the senator.
"Hindi ko po iyan tinatanggi, I’m very proud to be a protégé of Senator Gordon. Lahat po ng klaseng work ethic na meron ako ngayon — attention to detail, action lady they called me, perfectionist — lahat po iyan nakuha ko kay Senator Gordon," Eisma said.
Eisma finished law school at the Ateneo de Manila University College of Law. Aside from working for Gordon, Eisma also served as head executive assistant and legal counsel of then House Majority Leader Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. She continued to work for Roxas as chief of staff when he was appointed as the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry in 2000.
Eisma previously worked for Philip Morris International before re-entering the public sector.
Former SBMA chair Martin Diño on Thursday alleged that the supposed petitions by locals to remove him from his post were initiated by Eisma.
"Sabi nga may petition daw iyong locals. Si Eisma, siyempre siya iyong nagpapirma sa petition na alisin ako kaya kahit hindi ko pa sila nakausap, hindi nila ako binigyan ng chance na makilala kung sino ako," Diño told ANC's Headstart.
Diño, however, refused to answer categorically when asked if he believes Gordon urged Duterte to replace him.
"Hindi ko (alam), pero nakita mo naman ang ginawa ni Senator Gordon para sa president — iyong support niya sa presidente," he said.
Duterte appointed 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. Eisma and Diño had been at odds over certain decisions at the agency, issuing contradicting orders that had affected the agency’s operations.