OMB asked to help NIA end corruption

November 16, 2022 Paul M. Gutierrez 519 views

FORMER newsman and current National Irrigation Administration (NIA) administrator, Benny Diaz Antiporda, said a “syndicate” inside the agency is behind the order to suspend him from his post for six months without pay, stressing the complaint against him was also meant to “humiliate” the appointing authority, President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

“We all know of the rampant corruption at NIA; while there may only be a few involved, they are very well-organized,” Antiporda said, who formally took over at the NIA last July 29, 2022.

In an order dated November 15, 2022, OMB Samuel Martires ordered the suspension of Antiporda for alleged grave misconduct, harassment, oppression, ignorance of the law and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Also named as respondents but not suspended by the OMB are Senior Deputy Administrator Atty. Eryl Royce Nagtalon, NIA Senior Deputy Administrator; Acting Operations Department Manager Leslie Dizon; IEC Acting Manager Jerome Osias; Public Affairs (PAIS) Acting Manager Clarizze Toribio and General Services (GSD) Acting Manager Elaine Villanueva.

Named as complainants are the officers and members of the NIA Employees Association (NIAEASP), Lloyd Allain Cudal, former head the NIA Legal Service, Michelle Gonzales Raymundo, former NIA board corporate secretary and an unnamed “concerned employee” of the agency.

The credibility of the complaint against Antiporda, however, is now under question, after Eduardo G. Yu, NIAEASP president, issued a statement on Wednesday, November 16, 2022, where he categorically disowned and denied their being cited as complainant against the NIA chief.

“The NIAEASP National Council during its meeting on September 5, 2022, passed NC Resolution No. 13-2022, expressing its solid support to Administrator Antiporda’s leadership. That resolution still stands and remains unchanged,” Yu stressed.

Making light of the situation, Antiporda said the “good thing” that came out of his preventive suspension is that the public realized that the OMB can swiftly act on a complaint.

Antiporda also appealed to the OMB to not allow itself to be used by sinister forces who are out to derail the Marcos administration’s campaign against corruption.

“Nakikiusap po tayo sa Ombudsman na tulungan kami sa NIA; huwag po kayong magpagamit,” he said.

He added that he is not clinging to his post and that he is leaving the matter to President Marcos Jr., to decide on whether he should stay or not in his administration.

“Hindi po tayo kapit-tuko sa puwesto,” he stressed.