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DOT exec Pompee La Viña transferred to DA

Tourism Undersecretary Jose Gabriel La Viña has been transferred to the Department of Agriculture, just almost two months since he rejoined government.

Appointment papers released by Malacañang on Thursday showed President Rodrigo Duterte tapped La Viña to replace Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in the DA after her promotion to Tourism secretary last month.

La Viña was first appointed as Social Security System (SSS) commissioner but Duterte did not renew his term in the state pension fund in February over corruption allegations.

On April 24, Duterte appointed La Viña as Department of Tourism undersecretary. He was then transferred to the DA effective June 6.

Duterte also named economist and International Rice Research Institute deputy director general V. Bruce Tolentino as member of the Monetary Board, replacing Valentin Araneta who passed away on February 21.

Cagayan Economic Zone Authority administrator and chief executive officer Raul Lambino was named Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon.

Lambino is set to receive P1 as annual compensation in his role as presidential adviser based on the appointment paper dated June 6.

The President also appointed special envoys to China Carlos Chan and Wallie Dee and named Hellen Barber Dela Vega as ambassador to Australia.

Dela Vega will also have concurrent jurisdiction over Nauru, Vanuatu, and Tuvalu.

Also appointed was Nepomuceno Malaluan as Department of Education undersecretary.

Social media strategist

La Viña, who was Duterte’s social media campaign strategist during the 2016 presidential election, had been serving on a holdover capacity when Duterte opted not to extend his stint at the SSS.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque had 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.

Both requests were denied.

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.

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