Duterte order awaited to resolve SBMA row

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President Rodrigo Duterte will issue an executive order addressing a leadership dispute in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority between SBMA Chairman Martin Diño and SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma, a Palace official said on Thursday.

Lawyer Eulogio Sabban, representative of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, made the disclosure during a congressional inquiry in connection with conflicting provisions of Executive Order 340, which was issued during the time of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and signed by then-Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo, and the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.

Arroyo’s EO designates an SBMA chairman and an SBMA administrator, while the existing law provides that the SBMA chairman is also the SBMA administrator.

“[I am tasked to] give information and assurance that a draft executive order is for presentation to the President. But I am not privy and not in the position to divulge the details of the draft EO pending approval of the President,” Sabban told lawmakers.


Diño, who first filed a certificate of candidacy for President in the May 2016 elections but was eventually replaced by then-Davao City Mayor Duterte, has refused to recognize the appointment of Eisma.

Last week, he issued Administrative Order (AO) 01-2017, which created a task force under his office to “inspect, monitor and faithfully implement the laws in the conduct of business and financial operations and collections” of the SBMA.

But when he faced lawmakers, Diño agreed to shelve this AO and let President Duterte intervene instead.

“This is up to the President. I am here because the President wanted me here, wanted me to make SBMA thrive, so the decision is [for]him [to make],” he told reporters when asked if he feels confident about retaining his post.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte has requested that subpoenas be issued to Medialdea and former Executive Secretary Romulo for the two to shed light on the matter.

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