Panga cleared as ecozone body OIC

The appointment of Deputy Director General Tereso Panga as officer-in-charge of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority was proper and valid, the Department of Justice said in an opinion.

The validity of Panga’s designation as PEZA OIC was stated by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla in DoJ Opinion 17, series of 2022 dated 25 August 2022.

“Accordingly, the designation of DDG Panga as the OIC of PEZA is proper and valid. Since the position of PEZA Director General was declared vacant pursuant to Memorandum Circular 1, Panga, as the next in rank and most senior official, validly assumed office as OIC of PEZA and he shall continue to perform such functions until 31 December 2022, or until a replacement has been appointed or designated, whichever comes first,” the DoJ opinion read.

DoJ tapped to resolve friction
The DoJ opinion was released by Remulla to ascertain who is the OIC of PEZA pursuant to the Office of the President Memorandum Circular Nos. 1 and 3, Series of 2022.

Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry affirmed the appointment of Panga as officer-in-charge of the PEZA and refuted claims of former director general Charito Plaza that she was legally in charge.

Trade Undersecretary Herminio C. Bagro III, in a letter to Plaza dated 4 August, said the position of director general was “legally deemed vacant” since 30 June following the issuance of the Office of the President Memorandum Circular 1.

The said memorandum declared vacant all government posts held by presidential appointees whose appointments were considered co-terminus with the tenure of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

This was the response of Bagro to Plaza’s 2 August letter to Trade Secretary and PEZA Board chairman Alfredo Pascual insisting that she “never officially ordered any turnover of my post and have never vacated my position as the director general.”

Plaza asked Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez to issue an order “clarifying that my position as Director-General was never vacated pursuant to MC 1 and MC 3.”

MC 3, issued on 27 July, amends and supplements MC 1 and extends the appointment of OICs until 31 December.

The embattled Plaza claimed in her 2 August letter that Pascual’s interpretation of MC Nos.1 and 3 was “erroneous” and that MC No. 3 does not apply to government instrumentalities exercising corporate powers, according to Bagro.

She also said the position of PEZA director general has never been declared vacated by MC 1 and that Panga cannot legally designate himself and continue as OIC of PEZA.

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