THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the preventive suspension of National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Acting Administrator Benny Antiporda over complaints filed against him by employees of NIA who accused him of abusing his authority.
In a six-page order, signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires, dated November 15, 2022, Antiporda was meted with six months preventive suspension without pay.
“After a careful evaluation of the records, this Office finds that among the respondents, Respondents BENNY D. ANTIPORDA’s guilt is strong and that the case against him involve Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and Oppression, which may warrant his removal from the service,” the order said.
In response to the Ombudsman’s order, Antiporda said “if this is the price I have to pay in my fight against corruption, so be it.”
“These are petty allegations compared to the hundreds of millions na hinahabol natin against sa ilang mga taong ito,” he said.
The Ombudsman’s order came a few days after republicasia revealed the alleged conflict between Antiporda and several NIA officials over his appointmnent and management style.
Antiporda believed the allegations against him emanated from the complaint he filed against NIA Corporate Secretary Michelle Raymundo whom he accused of abuses.
“May inihain na akong reklamo na P206 million na hinahabol natin. And at the same time itong pang-aabuso ng corporate secretary ng NIA. Kinasuhan din natin and marami pang kasunod na mga kaso,” he said.
Antiporda is facing administrative complaints for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, harassment, ignorance of the law, and oppression.
The suspension order stemmed over issue concerning Antiporda’s status in NIA, whether the Board of Directors has the capacity to confer him the full-fledged status of administrator. To clarify this, officers and members of the NIA Employees Association of the Philippines made a query with the Office of the President.
However, according to NIA employees, their acts did not sit well with Antiporda. In response, he allegedly prohibited managers of the Central Office from travelling which became counter-productive to their work.
The grounds cited by complainants against Antiporda include:
-reassignment/transfer without valid grounds of several NIA employees which allegedly constitute constructive dismissal;
-threatening employees that their appointments will not be renewed if they do not side with him or do not act in consonance with his policies;
-using flag ceremonies as avenue for his bullying and fake news;
-maligning the employees through media
-misleading the President [Marcos] by discussing to him that NIA will be irrigating all farmlands with Public Private Partnership when irrigation is the mandate of the government and not a business venture
Antiporda also allegedly threatened not to renew the appointments of some employees of the General Services Division who installed/repaired the aircon in his residence but they were not able to finish the job at once.
Said acts of Antiporda created a chilling effect on NIA employees, according to the complaint.