Duterte's pick for new SBMA chief is Gordon's 'protégé'

PROTu00c9Gu00c9. President Rodrigo Duterte appoints Senator Richard Gordon's 'protu00e9gu00e9' as chairperson of the SBMA, replacing his party mate Martin Diu00f1o. Photo from SBMA Director Benny Antiporda's Facebook page

PROTu00c9Gu00c9. President Rodrigo Duterte appoints Senator Richard Gordon's 'protu00e9gu00e9' as chairperson of the SBMA, replacing his party mate Martin Diu00f1o.

Photo from SBMA Director Benny Antiporda's Facebook page

(UPDATED) The newly appointed chairperson of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is said to be a "protégé" of administration Senator Richard Gordon.

Lawyer Wilma "Amy" Eisma worked as Gordon's executive assistant and legal staff member when the senator served as SBMA chairman and administrator from 1992 to 1998.

A source in the SBMA said it was Gordon who pushed for Eisma's appointment, first as administrator, in 2016. The source also called Eisma the "protégé" of the senator.

During the turnover ceremony last January as Eisma took on the post of SBMA administrator, she said she would continue what Gordon started and envisoned for the agency.

She also shared her mentor's advice to her upon her appointment then: "Be fair but firm."

Gordon, for his part, admitted recommending Eisma's appointment and said there is nothing wrong with that because the latter is qualified for the job.

"Yes, i don't lie. I don't lie like [Senator Antonio Trillanes IV]. Qualified yung tao bakit idadamay pa? We need somebody from Olongapo. We need somebody who volunteered, we need somebody who came from high executive position in a multinational company. bakit na naman ibabala sa akin," Gordon told reporters on Thursday, September 28.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Eisma on Monday, September 25, replacing his party mate Martin Diño. It was Diño who first filed a certificate of candidacy for president then later gave way to Duterte.

Diño has been embroiled in a leadership squabble with Eisma. As chair, he earlier created an order allowing him to inspect and monitor the business and financial operations of the SBMA, supposedly encroaching on Eisma's functions as administrator.

Gordon is a staunch ally of Duterte and has been leading controversial investigations involving the President himself, his allies, and his family.

In 2016, Gordon ended the Senate justice committee probe into the spate of extrajudicial killings, clearing the President. He said neither Duterte nor the state sponsored summary executions. He also said there was no evidence against the so-called Davao Death Squad amid testimonies of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato and former Davao cop Arturo Lascañas Jr.

Gordon, also Senate blue ribbon committee chairman, has cleared presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and son-in-law Manases Carpio from smuggling allegations, saying there was no evidence presented against them. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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