PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte's decision not to renew the appointments of Social Security System (SSS) chairman Amado Valdez and commissioner Jose Gabriel Laviña's is aimed at making the state-run pension fund "more efficient."

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. acknowledged that there was a feud among SSS officials.

"I think the reason why the President removed them from office is because he thinks the SSS will be more efficient if there is no rift in the SSS board," Roque said.

Last year, Laviña accused four SSS officials -- executive vice president for investments Rizaldy Capulong, equities investment division chief Reginal Candelaria, equities product dvelopment head Ernesto Francisco Jr, and chief actuary George Ongkeko -- of profiting illegally by trading stock markets for their personal accounts.

The four SSS executives have been temporarily relieved from their respective positions following allegations hurled against them. Candelaria and Ongkeko have since quit their posts.

On Monday, February 12, Roque announced that Valdez and Laviña's terms of office, which both expired last June 30, 2017, were not renewed.

The two were also directed to vacate their posts "immediately" since they are both serving in a "hold-over" capacity.

Roque said Palace was confident that SSS would continue to fulfill their mandate even without Valdez and Laviña.

"The management of SSS is not changed. The SSS' work continues," he said. (SunStar Philippines)