Climate Change Commission in limbo due to power tripping vice chair Victorio
A citizens’ group has called President Rodrigo Duterte’s attention to the anomalies happening within the Climate Change Commission (CCC), which they blamed on Vice Chairperson Vernice Victorio’s abuse of power.
In a three-page letter sent to Duterte on June 29, the citizens’ group Matatag na Kilusang Pagbabago called Victorio’s leadership “like the Marawi tragedy” because the infighting she caused has led to the CCC’s failure to carry out some of its vital functions, such as the disbursement of the P2-billion People’s Survival Fund.
According to the group, Victorio has been throwing her weight around the agency by claiming that she was being protected by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, whom she reportedly describes as her boyfriend.
Citing her supposed ties with Medialdea, Victorio has allegedly been claiming she has “blanket authority from the President.” She also used her position to appoint Tecson So Lim, the driver of her long-time partner, as acting Commission Secretary, Legal Chief Counsel, Head of the Commission Secretariat, Deputy Executive Director and Project Manager.
Like Victorio, the citizens’ group said Lim has been claiming that he has blanket authority from Duterte, and has been bragging to other agencies about being “sobrang malakas ako sa Presidente at kina Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea at Secretary Bong Go.”
“Lim is more arrogant than his bosses in running the Commission,” the group said.
As a result of Victorio’s failure of leadership, the citizens’ group said the CCC is mired in infighting, with the commissioners fighting over travels, perks, projects and money.
Victorio’s partner, Tony Abaya, has also threatened officials and experts for following the rules.
“The principle of collegiality in decision making is no longer respected. The result is chaos at all levels as division chiefs and employees are forced to take sides,” the group said.
But the most glaring proof of Victorio’s incompetence is the CCC’s failure to disburse the P2-billion People’s Survival Fund to vulnerable communities and local government units, as mandated by law.
The Philippines has also failed to obtain a grant from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund.
To resolve the controversies hounding the CCC, the citizens’ group urged Duterte to appoint a vice chair “with integrity, who can make good decisions and honorably represent the country and its interests to the global community.”
“Your alter ego during this time of crisis must be a complete package of interdisciplinary knowledge, technical expertise, institutional and resource management,” it said.
The group also urged the President to accept the courtesy resignations of CCC commissioners so that the agency can be “returned to a stable state.”