MANILA – One of the people being accused of participating in big-time rice smuggling rejected the subpoena of the Senate, Senator Cynthia Villar said.
Villar, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chairperson, said one of the respondents, identified as David Lim, rejected the subpoena to the Senate hearing on rice smuggling which is set to resume today.
"Ayaw tanggapin ni David Lim at kanyang empleyado na si Lea Echiverri. Ipe-present namin iyung nakikita naming relationship nila and then magre-recommend ako na i-hold sila for contempt. Kapag na-hold sila for contempt then pwede na silang arestuhin," Villar told dzMM.
Aside from Lim, also summoned to the hearing were Davidson Bangayan, who is being tagged as rice smuggling king "David Tan", Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala, National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Orlan Calayag, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner John Philip Sevilla, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima.
Also invited to the hearing are various farmers cooperatives in the country that will testify as to the existence and operational details of rice smuggling.
Villar said the committee would like to know whether progress has been made since it made recommendations following public hearings last year.
"Isang taon nag-hearing ang Committee on Agriculture, nung February 2013, eh gumawa sila ng report at may mga recommendations sila kung ano ang gagawin ng DA, nang NFA, DOF, Customs, ng DOJ. May mga recommendations sila eh," she said.
"Para makita natin na nag-hearing tapos may mga recommendations. Ano ba ang ginawa? Itinabi na lang o inaksyunan?"
In its committee report signed last February 2013, the Senate said there is enough basis to conclude that certain financiers have employed dummy cooperatives to rig the bidding process.