• Anti-crime group throws support behind Diño

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    The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Wednesday blamed allegedly corrupt men and women surrounding President Rodrigo Duterte for the ouster of Martin Diño as chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

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    VACC president Dante Jimenez said alleged corruption in the Duterte administration is exemplified by allegedly corrupt people at the SBMA who had lobbied for the sacking of Diño as the agency’s head.

    “We received complaints that some people surrounding the President are so corrupt. We accept with heavy heart the transfer of our chairman Martin Diño to the Department of Interior and Local Government [DILG].

    What we deeply dislike was the manner of his sacking. He was replaced like garbage and he was not given the opportunity of a proper turnover just like what he [got]when he assumed office,” Jimenez told a news conference in Manila.

    He did not name names.

    Diño had quarrels with some of SBMA officials, including board members, particularly on the powers of the chairman.

    “The SBMA is a hotbed of corruption like smuggling of drugs and fuel, among others. I’m sure it will remain a corrupt agency,” Jimenez, VACC founding chairman said.

    Diño was replaced by Wilma Eisma, who took her oath of office before Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra last Tuesday.

    He narrated that he was called to Malacañang by the President who himself relayed to him his transfer to DILG as undersecretary for barangay (village) Affairs.

    Diño was a former village chairman in Quezon City.

    Jimenez and Diño said they remain big supporters of Duterte and they will continue to “protect” the President.
    Jimenez said Diño was never accused of corruption and he remained clean up to this time.

    Diño reigned as SBMA chairman for 11 months and he claimed to have submitted to Malacañang P140-billion projects that investors he recruited are ready to invest at the SBMA.

    He cited an attempt to gift him with a luxury car in exchange for allowing the importation of 200 thousand metric tons of sugar, which, he said, would impoverish three million sugar farmers if he allowed it.

    Diño said there are 15 gasoline stations inside the SBMA and this is because gasoline in the area is free from value-added tax.

    “I suspect that illegal drugs are entering Subic too,” he added.

    According to him, he never received a salary for 11 months except per diem of about P30,000 for every attendance in board meeting.

    He said he had sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the selling of a golf course at P1 per square meter.

    Diño admitted that he has no knowledge in running the SBMA but he said he learned in a short time and has lined up programs that will attract trillions of pesos in investments, mostly from Chinese businessmen.

    He said he had filed graft and corruption charges before the Office of the Ombudsman against some officials of the SBMA, including Esima, who he claimed was chief of staff of defeated 2010 vice presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party.

    Among the charges filed were 13 cases against SBMA officials for alleged P24.1-billion graft and some 162 other cases.

    Diño said the PDP-Laban leadership has called him and assured the party’s support to him.
    He filed a certificate of candidacy for the 2010 presidential race but was replaced by Duterte.
    They are both PDP-Laban members.

    Diño said he is waiting for the official appointment letter and he is ready to assume his post as a DILG official.
    “I vow to clear the barangay of illegal drugs. But first we have to clear them of users and pushers,” he added.

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