Duterte appoints former SSS Commissioner to Tourism

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Former Social Security System (SSS) Commissioner Jose Gabriel "Pompee" La Viña.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 25) — President Rodrigo Duterte appointed former Social Security System (SSS) Commissioner Jose Gabriel "Pompee" La Viña as Tourism Undersecretary Tuesday.

This is La Viña's most recent position after Malacañang did not renew his appointment to the SSS Commission on February 12, along with then Chairman Amado Valdez.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on February 17 said La Viña's term was not renewed due to corruption allegations, including an alleged demand for a ₱26-million budget to fund a "social media" project.

Roque also accused La Viña of embarking on a "vilification campaign" against four of the agency's executives.

"The President has mentioned time and again that he will not tolerate even a whiff of corruption," he said in his statement.

In a statement on his Facebook page on the same day, La Viña denied Roque's allegations.

"It is clear that Secretary Roque's accusations could not have come from the President. Being a prosecutor by background, he will not pass judgment without first verifying data supporting an accusation," he said.

Before his SSS stint, La Viña was social media director of the Duterte presidential campaign.

The SSS was previously marred in controversy involving former officials accused of profiting illegally by trading stocks for their personal accounts.

However, the state-run insurance agency assured the public that their funds for beneficiaries are intact.

Meanwhile, Duterte also appointed Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Director Benny Antiporda as Environment Undersecretary.