Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Palace keeps mum on Licuanan resignation

Magsaysays eyeing the post, says Gordon

By Veronica Uy, Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, INQ7.net

MALACAÑANG has remained tight-lipped as it begged off Monday from dwelling further on the resignation of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Francisco Licuanan III.

“The resignation has been accepted. We wish Mr. Licuanan all the best in his endeavors. I don’t think we should dwell further on this issue,” Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said when asked to comment on allegations that Licuanan had been sacrificed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a bid to gather more allies in Congress to thwart the impeachment case against her.

Licuanan on Friday confirmed he had resigned as adviser for the Subic-Clark Growth Corridor and as chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. He said he preferred that Malacañang make the announcement on why he quit government.

Pro-administration Senator Richard Gordon also denied earlier that he had a hand in the resignation of Licuanan, an executive at Ayala Land before joining the Arroyo administration in September 2004.

President Arroyo’s appointment of SBMA Director Armand Arreza, a protégé of Gordon, instead of Licuanan’s nominee Roberto Garcia, hastened the SMBA chairman’s resignation, reports said.

But Gordon clarified Monday he was recommending Arreza only as member of board of directors, not chairman-administrator of SBMA as earlier reported.

Instead, Gordon was recommending Rodolfo “Inky” Reyes for the SBMA top post.

Bunye said the President has yet to appoint a replacement for Licuanan, adding there was no confirmation yet whether Arreza would take the top SBMA post.

At the peak of SBMA operations, investments reached four billion dollars and 70,000 jobs were created, Gordon said. “Now, it’s just pure promises…”

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