MANILA -- National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orlan Calayag denied that he knows Davidson Bangayan, who is alleged to be rice smuggling king David Tan.
Calayag maintained this as he faced lawmakers in a joint hearing of the House Committees on Agriculture and Food Security.
Upon questioning by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Calayag also said the NFA did not issue import permits to any group connected to Bangayan.
Calayag, howver, admitted that during the last Senate inquiry, Bangayan confirmed he is connected with Starcraft, one of the companies which granted import permits for rice.
Calayag still maintained though that when Starcraft was issued an import permit, it enjoyed presumption of regularity.
Bangayan is allegedly one of the biggest rice smugglers in the country.
In a previous hearing, lawmakers expressed belief that there would be no big rice smuggling operation without the collusion of government insiders.