By Bernadette D. Nicolas, August 20 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to ABS-CBN News

NATIONAL Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Lead Convener and Secretary Liza Maza announced on Monday her resignation from her Palace post, citing, among others, President Duterte’s decision to cancel the peace talks with communists as the last straw.

Maza, a former Gabriela party-list representative, bared her decision to quit on the second day of reporting for work at NAPC after murder charges against her and three former lawmakers were dismissed by a Nueva Ecija trial court in Palayan City last week. 

The junking of charges against Maza and the former lawmakers also led to the decision of the judge to void the arrest warrants issued against Maza, former Agrarian Secretary Rafael Mariano and former Bayan Muna Party-list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño. 

Although the charges were dismissed, Maza said during the press conference, the revival of the cases and the issuance of warrants of arrest did take its toll on her work at NAPC. 

“I would like to announce that I [have] submitted my letter of resignation to President Duterte this morning. I said and I thought about this during the time that we are being harassed, and until this weekend and I came to the conclusion that I cannot work under the circumstances,” she said in Filipino.

“Although I hailed the [dismissal of the] case as a triumph of truth and justice, but I know there is always that possibility of launching a greater attack against me,” Maza said.

But she stressed that the last straw was the President’s decision to cancel the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which she said the President announced on August 14. 

“This ended my hope that the peace talks will bear fruit to meaningful socioeconomic and political reforms that will end poverty and war in the country. This is the sign that the anti-reform, anti-poverty and militaristic mindset and rules have prevailed in this administration,” she said in a separate statement. 

Maza also revealed that the invitation for her to attend the Cabinet meetings stopped last September, which she said was because of status of peace talks. 

She added: “This is not a surrender of the pursuit of meaningful reforms that we have embarked upon in my two years of leading the NAPC, and which has always been my life’s work as an activist and legislator, nor am I succumbing to the reactionary forces who have long wanted me out of this post. Rather, it has become clear to me that this pursuit will be better served with me working outside of government.”

In her two year stint, Maza said NAPC was able to accomplished advocating for a progressive anti-poverty policy framework and working closely with basic sectors for more meaningful people’s participation in governance. 

Presidential Spokesman Herry L. Roque Jr. expressed regret over Maza’s decision to resign and wished her the best. 

“Likewise we thank Secretary Liza Maza for her invaluable services to the government for the past two years, even as we express our regret with her decision to leave in government,” Roque said, even as he disputed Maza’s claim that the peace talks were canceled.