President lets go of SSS top execs Valdez, La Viña

Published February 13, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Duterte, exercising his “presidential prerogative,” has opted not to renew the appointments of two top Social Security System (SSS) officials.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the services of SSS Chairman Amado Valdez and SSS Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña have been discontinued following the expiry of their terms last June 30, 2017.

The two officials were serving on a holdover capacity since their terms expired, Roque said.

“The Executive Secretary has formally informed Mr. Jose Gabriel M. La Viña (or) Pompee as well as/and Mr. Amado D. Valdez, that their term of office, both of which expired 30 June 2017 as commissioners of the SSS, will not be renewed,” Roque said in a Palace news conference.

In the letters addressed to the two officials, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea informed them that “upon instructions of the President, your service in the SSS is hereby discontinued effective immediately.”

Asked for the reason why the two officials have been let go by the President, Roque cited “presidential prerogative.”

For now, he said there was no announcement on the replacement of the two SSS executives.

Valdez, former University of the East College of Law, was appointed SSS chairman back in October, 2016. La Viña, a social media director of Duterte’s presidential campaign, was named commissioner a month later.

The Social Security Commission (SSC) is the highest policy-making body of the SSS.

The termination of the two SSS executives came amid the President’s study on the proposed increase in the SSS contribution rate.

Dominguez comments

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that he would recommend the possible replacements for Valdez and La Viña should the President ask so.

As the Duterte administration’s chief economic manager, Dominguez was asked by reporters in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu who could be the possible replacements in the key positions vacated in the SSS.

Asked if he knew who recommended the non-renewal of Valdez and La Vina’s terms that expired in June last year, Dominguez said: “I don’t know who recommended, I don’t know.” (With a report from Chino S. Leyco)