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Duterte appointee, MinDA chair Acosta, questions sudden replacement

FORMER Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair, Ma. Belen Acosta, is contesting her removal from the position by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

In a livestream on Wednesday, Acosta expressed shock and disappointment after she was replaced by Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao, Sec. Leo Tereso Magno. 

Former President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Acosta in February 2022 with a six-year term.

“Perhaps this is the first time wherein a cabinet position that is not vacant and already occupied was assigned to yet another person,” Acosta said adding that “this resulted in two appointees for only one position.”

Acosta cited Republic Act 9996, which grants MinDA chairs a fixed term, and claims she is seeking legal counsel to address the situation.

On May 23, 2024, Secretary Leo Magno was appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos to the same position as ” I currently hold, eventually, an oath before the Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on May 21, 2024.”

“It is the biggest shock of my life. It felt like my heart stopped beating for a few moments. I had sleepless nights and an upset stomach. I had sleepless nights,” she further said.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, in a letter dated May 22nd, informed Acosta of her termination due to a “loss of trust and confidence” stemming from a Facebook post where she questioned the vacancy of the position. Bersamin emphasized the confidential nature of the MinDA Chair role and the President’s prerogative in such matters.

Acosta maintains she is still the rightful chair and has instructed MinDA staff to continue working under her direction. She also refutes accusations of clinging to power and insists her actions are based on the law.

File Photo: Bing Gonzales


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