Monday, March 24, 2014

NIA exec decries demolition job as power struggle rocks agency

MANILA-A senior official of the National Irrigation Administration yesterday decried the alleged demolition job supposedly orchestrated by lower-level agency officials to besmirch her reputation and that of her politician-husband as power struggle continues to rock the agency.
          Deputy administrator for finance and management Lorna Grace Rosario said the alleged corruption implicating her and another NIA official was clearly a smear campaign to destroy her name and that of her husband,  Binmaley, Pangasinan Mayor Simplicio Rosario.
          “It’s pure and simple black propaganda to destroy my name and my husband. They are trying to provoke me,” Rosario said.
          The NIA official identified assistant administrators Vicente Galvez and Virginia Atienza as behind the smear campaign. She said the campaign was apparently well-funded since the NIAEASP has no funds to finance the demolition job.
          Rosario was reacting to an open letter which came out in a national daily yesterday calling on President Aquino to investigate alleged irregularities inside NIA involving her, deputy administrator for engineering and operation Modesto Membreve and Agriculture Undersecretary Antonio Fleta.
          The letter was signed by officials of the NIA Employees Association of the Philippines (NIAEASP), the Association of Regional Directors and Operation Managers (Ardoma), the National Confederation of Irrigators’ Association (NCIA) and the National Federation of Employees of the Department of Agriculture (NAFEDA).
          The concerned officials said they have nothing personal against Fleta and the two other NIA officials but just wanted the irregularities investigated and pending the investigation, that they be relieved from their posts. They claimed the Board has been meddling in the functions of NIA Administrator Claro Maranan.           
Rosario said her accusers have no strong evidence against her. “In fact, the NIA Board of Directors have cleared me of any wrongdoing,” she said.
She said that the issue is politically motivated as a flood of text messages circulated in Binmaley that the wife of the mayor was supposedly involved in irregularities.
Rosario vowed to fight off the allegations against her. “I have to protect my name and that of my family,” she said.
Turning the tables on Galvez and Atienza, Rosario said they are the ones who are corrupt. “Look who’s talking,” she said.
Last month, the NIA Board denied the allegations of its own employees’ association of massive corruption in the agency but nevertheless directed the internal audit services of the agency to look into the allegations.  It described the accusations as “untrue, malicious and unfair.”

Rosario said her accusers were against the reforms they are trying to implement within NIA. She said Galvez and Atienza were disgruntled because they were among those relived from their posts as part of the reforms being undertaken in the agency. – Manny Galvez


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