THE Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc., the national association of customs brokers in the Philippines, has a new set of officers following a snap election that resulted from a surprise decision of its directors to declare all officers’ positions vacant.
The new officers were elected on Jan 16 in line with CCBI Resolution No. 01-2014 dated Jan 14, which called for the vote. They will serve 3,000 association members for the next 16 months until the group’s regular election in May 2015.
The move to declare the officer positions vacant was due “to loss of trust (in) and confidence on the leadership of Roberta Riga and to give fresh start to the association,” the resolution stated.
The board’s decision to declare the incumbent leadership positions vacant came as a surprise and exposed a rift between the CCBI’s deposed president, Roberta Riga, and a faction of the previous board led by Joseph Tabirara, the former corporate secretary.
When contacted by PortCalls, Riga said the decision to unseat the officers and elect new ones was illegal and that she still considered herself the president.
“We strongly oppose their action to reorganize the officers,” Riga said.
In a letter to CCBI director and former president Girlie Perez, Riga said the declaration of vacancy was illegal for it was made after the board meeting’s presiding officer, Arnulfo Gambayan, postponed the meeting due to a lack of quorum.
Riga said Gambayan’s act as presiding officer of the “illegal board meeting” is a “clear case of conflict of interest”. Gambayan is vice-president for international affairs of CCBI and also the Bureau of Customs’ Import Assessment Service director.
The new set of CCBI officers has already been sworn into office in a ceremony officiated by two Professional Regulation Board for Customs Brokers members Atty. Felipe Bartolome and Silverio Montalbo, Commission on Elections representative Atty. Rolly Diaz, and former CCBI president Diosdado Santiago.
CCBI’s new executive vice-president and corporate secretary is Samson Gabisan, formerly the vice-president for internal affairs, who was now replaced by Rolando Quiambao.
Albert Cruz is vice-president for professional development, replacing Dennis del Pilar.
Cruz will also act as the new press relations officer, replacing director Jose Rommel Abac.
Gambayan retained his position as vice-president for international affairs while Sunny Aguila remained the treasurer and Ariel Reyes the auditor. Rogelio Villagarcia is still vice-president for government affairs.
Riga remained as director. Completing the chamber’s directors are Perez, Domondon, Cris John Garcia, Lamberto Mindanao, and del Pilar.–– Roumina M. Pablo