The Ombudsman’s suspension of National Irrigation Administration Acting Administrator Benny Antiporda could have resolved the internal conflict in the agency, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Tuesday.
The President also said Antiporda’s suspension would not interrupt NIA operations, especially its food security program.
“The function of the NIA is not going to change. In fact, I suppose, it is like – if there was that conflict inside the agency, baka ngayon na nawala ‘yan, baka mas gumanda pa ang takbo,” Marcos told reporters in a chance interview in Pasay City.
Marcos also said he wants to find out what happened to Antiporda and why the Ombudsman had preventively suspended him for six months.
“We have to find out what happened to Benny, see what really is the situation there, why Ombudsman Martires suspended him. So it happened all when I was away. So I’ve asked them to give me the background on what happened,” he said.
Ombudsman Samuel Martires had ordered the suspension of Antiporda for alleged grave misconduct, harassment, oppression, ignorance of the law, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
He was accused of maligning employees, misleading the President, and bullying subordinates, among others.
Named complainants were the officers and members of the NIA Employees Association or NIAEASP, including Lloyd Allain Cudal and Michelle Gonzales Raymundo.
But Antiporda denied that there is conflict within NIA.
In a phone call to reporters, Antiporda claimed that the complaints are simply part of a smear campaign against him by employees who have been relieved during the cleansing process.
“Walang conflict sa NIA. Ang complainant isang tao lang…isang hindi konektado sa NIA at isang kinasuhan ko ng P206 million sa Ombudsman. Parehong may kaso yan. May complainant daw na walang pangalan, yung mga anonymous na yan most probably kasama sa mga na-relieve sa cleansing process,” he claimed.
Photo credit: NIA