Metro Manila (AdChoiceTV News October 15)— Environment Undersecretary and Spokesperson Benny Antiporda on Thursday advised critics calling for his resignation to write a complaint to President Rodrigo Duterte, saying he would step down from his post if the chief executive says so.
“You can write to the President or you can make a complaint against me. Now, if the President says I should leave my post, then I will do it,” Antiporda said in a phone interview with AdChoiceTV News “Wala pong problema ‘yan (I have no problem with that).”
His response came after a strong pronouncement from the Geographic Society of the University of the Philippines, which called for Antiporda’s resignation due to his “ill-fitting background for the job” as well as for the disregard of the opinions of other Filipino scientists.
Antiporda earlier earned the ire of netizens and practicians after he accused experts from the University of the Philippines of being mercenaries or “bayaran,” claiming that the government has paid multi-million funds for the consultation services of the state institution.
The GSUP said that stepping down from his post would serve as a form of accountability, and would also “give way for other, better qualified candidates” to work in the agency.
“The DENR needs a spokesperson who, instead of antagonizing homegrown scientists, articulately expresses and explains the department’s goals and policies, moreover this country deserves a DENR Undersecretary who is credible, responsive and committed to protecting, conserving, and managing our environment and natural resources,” the academic organization said in its statement.
The DENR official has since apologized to UP for his remarks.
Antiporda, who acknowledged that he isn’t a scientist, noted that his latest pronouncements— particularly those in defense of the controversial Manila Bay “white beach” project— were based on consultations with colleagues from the DENR.
“I’m not a scientist, yes. This is based on statements also of our experts in the department,” Antiporda said.