Duterte says he sacked Diño to make SBMA 'cohesive'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he sacked Martin Diño as chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to make the office "cohesive" by "fusing" the positions of chairman and administrator. 

Duterte earlier replaced Diño with newly appointed SBMA chair Wilma Eisma, who has been SBMA administrator since January. 

"It was not really the fault of Diño, neither of the administrator, but in the name of public interest, for the cohesive office, finuse ko, pinagdikit ko nang isa (I fused and merged them into one)," Duterte said in a PTV interview aired Thursday, September 28.

Duterte was referring to his Executive Order No. 42, signed on Monday, September 25, that said the SBMA administrator "shall be the ex officio Chairman of the SBMA Board."

Having booted out Diño from the SBMA, Duterte said he offered Diño an undersecretary position instead.

Diño on Wednesday, September 27, said he had accepted Malacañang's offer to serve as DILG undersecretary for barangay affairs. 

Hours after Diño made this announcement, however, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said, "As of this date, the President has not appointed Mr Martin Diño to any position in the Department of the Interior and Local Government or in any instrumentality of government."  

The former SBMA chair was the original standard-bearer of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in the 2016 elections until he withdrew his candidacy and Duterte ran as his substitute. He was widely seen as Duterte's "placeholder" back then. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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