SC affirms Barbers as Philippine Tourism Authority chief


MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has put an end over who should be the legitimate head of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) after it affirmed the Court of Appeals decision that favored current PTA chief Robert Dean Barbers.

In a 19-page decision, the high court’s first division through Associate Justice Adolf Azcuna, noted that the appeals court was correct in saying that the position of PTA chairman became vacant on April 6, 2002 and not on Nov. 5, 2006.

The high court also noted that former PTA chairman Nixon Kua simply continued the unfinished term of his predecessor Angelito Banayo pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 564 or the PTA Charter.

Section 23 of PD 564 provides that the PTA General Manager “shall serve for a term of six years unless sooner removed for cause.”

“Upon analysis of the provisions of the law, one obvious fact is manifest — it speaks of “member/s” in a generic sense; no particular allusion whatsoever is made on the DoT [Department of Tourism] Secretary, the General Manager or the three-part time members of the PTA Board,” the high court said.

“The provisions equally apply to them all without distinction or qualification. Necessarily, the logical consequence of this would be to construe the law in light of the company of words…Perforce, the words ‘any member’ mentioned in (PD 564) should be understood to refer not just to the part-time members of the PTA Board but to its General Manager as well,” the high court said.

In 2003, the Court of Appeals ruled that Barber’s appointment on Nov. 12, 2002 “could not but be valid as the position was then very much vacant and the petitioner (Kua) had no more security or guarantee of tenure that could be transgressed, or even merely to speak of.”