Names of 2 new Subic freeport officials bared


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: The cat is out of the bag.

After weeks of speculations on who President Rodrigo Duterte will appoint to take over the leadership of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a number of officials here said Martin Diño is the incoming chairman and Marvin Ted Macapagal is the incoming administrator and CEO.

But the officials clarified that the names of Dino and Macapagal have not been officially announced by Malacañang and that the two do not have appointment papers yet.

Diño was named by outgoing SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia on September 19 as the new chairman and administrator of the government agency.

Randy Escolango, SBMA deputy administrator for legal affairs, had posted on Facebook Diño’s recent visit to the Subic freeport.

Mike Macapagal last Friday also posted on Facebook his meeting with President Duterte, the President’s executive assistant Bong Go and his brother Marvin Ted.

Mike, losing PDP-Laban candidate for the First District of Zambales in the May 2016 elections, congratulated Diño on his appointment as new SBMA chairman.

Diño, also of PDP-Laban, filed his certificate of candidacy for President but withdrew at the last minute to give way for Duterte as substitute candidate in the race to Malacañang.

The new SBMA chairman is also a former chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption.

Escolango said Diño has sent a transition team to the freeport to facilitate smooth turnover of leadership.

He was quoted as saying Diño’s appointment will be made official next week.

Diño is father to Liza Diño, who was wed to actress-singer Aiza Seguerra in same sex rites abroad.

Liza has been appointed by the President as chairman of the Film Development Council of the Philippines and Aiza as chairman of the National Youth Commission.

A business locator at the freeport with close ties to the President’s allies in Davao City confirmed Diño is the same person they heard being considered as SBMA chairman but denied knowledge about Macapagal’s appointment as SBMA administrator and CEO.

In a conversation with The Manila Times on Thursday, Lyceum president and CEO Alfonso Borda said Diño is the guy eyed as the next freeport chairman but his appointment is pending.

“There are three of them being considered for the post as far as I know,” Borda added.

He, however, refused to divulge the names of the other two, saying it is highly confidential.

Borda said the official announcement will probably come out next week.

According to him, Malacañang is looking at appointing a chairman and an administrator to head the agency but said he has not heard about the possible appointment of Macapagal.

He said the Macapagals may have direct access to the President.

Borda said as far as he knows, the President does not promise appointment to anybody and there is a screening group for the final appointment of people to government positions.

“I am sure that nobody knows who will really sit there until such time the President signs their appointment papers,” he told The Manila Times.


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  1. Rizal Bonifacio on

    Garcia’s Legal Knight Shield
    Updated 13 minutes ago
    Flawed Candidates
    Vie For Lucrative SBMA Post
    Two candidates want to become SBMA chairman & administrator: Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado and Deputy Administrator Randy Escolango. They have been charged with graft and corruption in separate cases, but both have strong backers, Sen. Dick Gordon and the Iglesia ni Cristo, respectively.
    In April 2014, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales filed a case against top SBMA officials, including Agregado, for committing “procedural shortcuts. . .and material deviations including changes in the eligibility requirements in the award of a contract to a favored contractor.”. [Top SBMA execs indicted for graft, by Perfecto T. Raymundo, Philippine News Agency, April 14, 2014]
    The resolution notes “SBMA [officials] pegged the project cost at only P763 million to allow Harbour Cenmter to post a lower bid security of P15.260 million, even if the original cost of the JVA (Joint Venture Agreement) was set at P5.537 billion, which should have required a bid security of P100 million.”
    The case against Agregado and his co-respondents was subsequently dismissed. He thus might yet get the SBMA post, with Sen. Gordon actively lobbying for his appointment. If so, the business community fears a return to the old days, when Gordon was chairman and administrator and, later, when another protege of his, Armand Arreza, through his intercession, was appointed GMA to the position.
    It was Gordon, as SBMA’s first chairman and administrator, who gave away the assets of SBMA to his friends and cronies in the media, the government, and the business sector. He had complete control over the Freeport under Cory Aquino and virtual control under GMA. Now he wants to extend his rule under a third president.
    The question is, would President Rodrigo Duterte allow it?
    Maybe Escolango, a member of the politically powerful sect, has a fighting chance after all, despite the fact that, in June 2010, he was meted out a 90-day suspension for short-changing his former clients.[SBMA exec placed under 90-day suspension, by Bebot Sison, Philippine Daily Star, Dec. 5, 2010]
    Then SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza also recommended the filing of administrative charges against Escolango for violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials and Employees.
    The suspension was prompted by a criminal case filed by Atty. Bart Dalangin against Escolango for falsification of public documents. Escolango and Dalangin had been law partners. Together they represented FSC employees, who demanded that SBMA pay them their separation fee after SBMA closed down FSC, one of its subsidiaries.
    SBMA agreed to pay the dismissed FSC workers the amount of P4.393 million or the equivalent of P16,588 for each of them. The workers, however, claimed they received only P8,200 each, with Escolango keeping the rest of the amount for himself.
    An SBMA representative had made the payment in cash to Escolango, over the objections of the FSC workers and their finance officer. They wanted the payment made in check to the corporation. SBMA, however, proceeded with the scheme on the strength of a power of attorney supposedly signed by Dalangin. It turned out Dalangin did not sign any power of attorney. He said Escolango had forged his signature.
    Not only that. At that time, Escolango had already been appointed SBMA deputy administrator. He was thus representing people against the government agency that employed him, a clear case of conflict of interests.
    The beleaguered lawyer said he was forced to work behind the scene because he just couldn’t abandon his former clients.
    Granted that was true, said Atty. Ruel John Kabigting, who conducted the investigation, “Escolango had an even higher moral obligation to ensure that the 380 former FSC employees—his former clients—were treated justly and with all transparency by rendering an accounting or breakdown of the P4,393,000.
    He did no such thing. He shortchanged the workers, at a time when they had already lost their livelihood.

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