Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Thursday said an investigation is underway over the supposed “unauthorized” signing of a document directing the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.
“An investigation is ongoing to determine whether any act that would cause the President to lose trust and confidence in his officials can be found or if there is malice or negligence involved. In such a case, if such findings are made, then the only determination left will be how many heads are going to roll,” Cruz-Angeles said in a press briefing.
Cruz-Angeles described as “illegal” Sugar Order No. 4 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, which supposedly directs the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.
“The Chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board is President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. As such, the chairman sets the date of any meetings or convening of the Sugar Regulatory Board and its agenda. No such meeting was authorized by the President or such a resolution likewise, was not authorized,” said Cruz-Angeles.
Cruz-Angeles said the resolution appears to have been signed by Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian on behalf of Marcos.
“He was not authorized to sign such a resolution because the President did not authorize the importation,” said Cruz-Angeles.
Cruz-Angeles said importations are a sensitive matter, particularly concerning agricultural importations.
“Sugar is one such importation which we take great care with. It is a balancing act. The importation has to be carefully studied to protect both the consumer against the rising prices of basic commodities while ensuring at the same time that we do not destroy the local industry,” said Cruz-Angeles.
A farmers’ group, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) earlier lauded Marcos’ decision to reject the importation of 300,000 MT of sugar.
Sinag Executive Director Jayson Cainglet said the SRA and the DA should heed the marching order of the chief executive to support local production. | PND