ARTA OIC sees suspension of execs as 'challenges'

The appointed Officer-in-Charge of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said Wednesday that they see the preventive suspension of his five colleagues as only "challenges" as they face graft charges filed in relation to their work in the agency.

"In any endeavor, there are bound to be challenges. This is how we see the preventive suspension of five top ARTA officials," Usec. Ernesto V. Perez, ARTA's Deputy Director General for Operations, said in a statement.


Perez was referring to the suspension of Secretary Jeremiah Belgica; Usec. Eduardo Bringas, the Deputy Director General for Legal; Legal Director Melamy Salvadora-Asperin, Legal Division Chief Sheryl Pura Sumagui; and former Legal Director Jedrek Ng.

Perez said the compliance of the officials with the Office of the Ombudsman suspension order only proves that ARTA "has always held high regard for the law."

The acting OIC also said ARTA maintains "the said officials were merely implementing the automatic approval provision of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018."

On June 5, the five officials were ordered suspended for six months. The suspension stemmed from the complaint filed by DITO Telecommunity, Inc. that accused them of violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for supposedly giving preferential treatment in favor of NOW Telecom Company. Inc. in the selection process for the New Major Player (NMP) in the telecommunications industry.

"ARTA will have to comply or abide by that Resolution until it is reversed or set aside by higher authorities, either by executive, judicial, or legislative action," Perez said.

Perez vowed that ARTA "will remain undeterred and will continue to perform its functions against bureaucratic red tape."

"I will ensure that our day-to-day operations will continue to run smooth and that the services that we provide will not be hampered as we perform this sacred duty to further improve the efficiency of government services," he added.