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Ex-SSS commissioner Pompee Laviña appointed DOT undersecretary

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Social Security System (SSS) commissioner Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña to another government post months after not renewing his term at the state pension fund over corruption allegations.

La Viña was named undersecretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) on April 24, according to the appointment paper released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

La Viña, who was Duterte’s social media campaign strategist during the 2016 presidential election, is taking over the post from Rolando Cañizal.

DENR, NLRC appointees

Duterte, meanwhile, appointed former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) board member Benny Antipoda as undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Rosario Sagadal and Agnes Alexis Lucero-De Grano as commissioners of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

He also promoted some police officials.

SSS stint

La Viña had been serving on a holdover capacity when Duterte decided in February not to extend his stint at the SSS.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that among the reasons why La Viña was let go was the latter’s two requests for budget allocations for a social media project “with him as TV host” and an advertising program.

The Palace official added that La Viña had requested the accreditation of seven brokers to handle SSS investments, which was denied "because these brokers could not meet the requirements."

Roque also cited La Viña's alleged "vilification campaign" against four SSS executives "who crossed his path."

La Viña had filed an administrative complaint against executive vice president Rizaldy Capulong, Equities Product Development head Ernesto Francisco Jr., Equities Investment Division chief Reginald Candelaria and chief actuary George Ongkeko Jr. for allegedly profiting from stock market trading.

“Again, let this be a reminder to all public officials that the President is serious in curbing corruption and has strong resolve to promote good governance," Roque said in a statement on February 17.

La Viña said the allegations were nothing but “black propaganda” that may have been created by the investment officers he filed cases against for conflict of interest and other offenses.

Roque, meanwhile, commented that La Viña’s reappointment was a “presidential prerogative.” —KG/ALG, GMA News