By HENRY EMPEÑO
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Even his peers did not approve of his actions. This was apparent in a memorandum sent to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Martin Diño by members of the SBMA board of directors.
In their letter dated June 1, 2017, the SBMA directors frowned upon their chairman’s issuance of an administrative order creating an oversight task force under his office, and chided him for not consulting them before making decisions.
“We regret that we cannot support your action of issuing an administrative order well beyond the scope of your duties as Chairman of the Board, unilaterally declaring that the operations of SBMA are in danger of ‘financial collapse’ and creating a task force…without approval of the board,” the directors said.
Further reminding Diño that the SBMA board “is a collective and collegial body which makes decisions based on the vote of the majority,” the directors said that the collective decision of the board “should be solicited before an issuance or order that affect the entire SBMA operations can be disseminated and implemented.”
“Anything less would be a curtailment of our functions as members of a collegial body, each empowered with his or her own voice in any issue or matter that affect SBMA,” they added.
The letter to Diño, a copy of which was also sent to President Duterte, was signed by 11 of the 13 sitting directors who represented various sectors in the SBMA’s policy-making body.
The signatories are directors Benny Antiporda, Ma. Cecilia Bitare, Edwin Enrile, Julius Escalona, Jorge Estanislao, Brian Patrick Gordon, Jan Joshua Khonghun, Tomas Lahom III, Julita Manahan, Cynthia Paulino, and Rogelio Roque.
Only directors Marvin Ted Macapagal and Stefani Saño did not sign the manifesto.
The SBMA directors sounded their criticism of Diño after he issued Administrative Order 01-2017, which sought to create a task force under the chairman’s office ostensibly to “inspect, monitor and faithfully implement the laws in the conduct of business and financial operations and collections” of the agency.
The order was perceived to be usurping the power and functions of the agency’s administrator and encroaching upon the oversight functions of the board itself.
SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma earlier described the task force as “counterproductive, superfluous and unnecessary.”
Diño’s issuance of an AO likewise led the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the separation of the top positions in the SBMA, which House leaders said violated Republic Act 7227.
In their letter, the SBMA directors also asked Diño to “refrain from issuing any order in direct violation of Executive Order No. 340 and Republic Act No. 7227” and reminded him that any order that directly tarnish the reputation of the SBMA without factual or legal grounds “is an act of betrayal of our roles as fiduciaries of the State.”
“We are empowered and imbued with the legal obligation and duty to act in the best interest of the SBMA and to act with utmost good faith in all dealings,” the directors also said.
“Our organization, our stakeholders, our partners, our people, and most of all, our government deserve no less,” they added.