DA chief accused of nepotism, abuse of authority

By ALI G. MACABALANG

Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture. (Supplied)

Agriculture Secretary William Dar has been charged with nepotism and grave abuse of authority before the Office of the Ombudsman for designating his son-in-law as head of an agency under his department and for transferring a key subordinate appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte from one office to another that led to desperate resignation.

In a complaint dated and submitted last July 1 to the Office of the Ombudsman Samuel Martires, resigned Deputy Director John Pagaduan accused Dar of committing nepotism for designating his son-in-law, Alex Arizabal, as general manager of the Human Settlement Development Corporation, an agency under the Department of Agriculture currently undergoing liquidation.

Pagaduan, in his complaint, declared that Arizabal should also be held criminally and administratively liable along with Secretary Dar.

The complainant, earlier appointed by Duterte as deputy executive director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF), said Secretary Dar  caused his “constructive dismissal/forced resignation” by relieving him from his official position and assigning him to different offices “without specific functions.”

Pagaduan said his “floating” situation eventually forced him to resign, but not without a legal reaction via a complaint before the Ombudsman’s office.

He also accused Dar of allegedly violating RA 6713, known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for public officials and employees, for alleged failure to act promptly on a letter addressed to the DA chief dated Jan.21, 2020. He did not elaborate on the nature of the letter believed not acted upon in due time. 

Pagaduan said his nepotism complaint has been attached with a copy of Sec. Dar’s Special Order dated Jan. 7, 2020 designating his son-in-law as general manager of the Human Settlements Development Corporation (HSDC).

“By the looks of the Special Order No. 15, it is silent as to whether Mr. Alexander Arizabal would be holding the position of General Manager of HSDC concurrently with his existing position as Information Systems Analyst III/Head Executive Assistant of the Department of Agriculture. Hence, from being an IT person in the office, Arizabal would now be holding the management of a defunct corporation,” Pagaduan said.

He stressed that while the HSDC is now undergoing liquidation, he was doubtful of Arizabal’s expertise in handling a “corporate liquidation, or at the very least, in the management of a government corporation.”

Pagaduan saod Arizabal holds a regular position of “Information Systems Analyst III” designated as head executive assistant under Sec. Dar.

“The designation (of Arizabal) constitutes a gross violation of our laws and government regulations that warrants the appropriate criminal and administrative charges. The designation is tantamount to a graft and corrupt practice defined by law, particularly under Section 3, paragraphs (e) and (j) of Republic Act No. 3019,” he said.

Pagaduan claimed the DA chef is culpable of three criminal and administrative violations.

As of press time, Dar and Arizabal could not be reached for reactions on the complaint.

PHILIPPINE MUSLIM TODAY

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