Ombudsman orders suspension of NIA acting chief

The Order — signed by Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires on 11 November but released on 15 November — said his Office ‘finds that among the six respondents, Antiporda’s guilt is strong and that the cases may warrant his removal from the service’

Suspended National Irrigation Administration Acting Administrator Benny Antiporda (Photo from Facebook)

Benny D. Antiporda is in hot water.

The Office of the Ombudsman placed the National Irrigation Administration acting chief under a maximum of 60 days preventive suspension without pay — in connection with the Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and Oppression complaints filed against him by the NIA Employees Association of the Philippines.

The Order — signed by Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires on 11 November but released on 15 November — said his Office “finds that among the six respondents, Antiporda’s guilt is strong and that the cases may warrant his removal from the service.”

Details in the complaints said Antiporda deemed unacceptable the opinion of NIA lawyers that the government-owned and controlled corporation’s most senior officer, the acting chief, based on President Bongbong Marcos’ Memorandum Circular 1, was Administrator Ricardo Visaya.

The complainants also claimed Antiporda asked to drop the term “acting” when he himself was appointed to the position.

Antiporda likewise allegedly vented his ire on NIA employees by preventing them from travelling — which, the employees said, would be “counterproductive” to their work.

Some employees were also reassigned without basis.

Another complaint was that Antiporda threatened not to renew the appointments of some employees who fixed the air-conditioning unit of his own residence but could not finish the job quickly.

The Ombudsman claimed they had a ground to undertake an investigation against Antiporta, which might lead to his expulsion from the service, should the records be utilized as the basis.

The preventive suspension was meant to secure documents and to prevent possible harassment of witnesses, since Antiporda’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.

The suspended officer appears prepared to face the charges against him.

“If this is the price to pay in my fight against corruption… so be it,” Antiporda told Daily Tribune. “These are petty allegations compared to hundreds of millions that we’re trying to recover.” (with Edjen Oliquino)


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