House to probe P200M importation scam

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 05 2014 09:30 PM | Updated as of Feb 06 2014 05:30 AM

MANILA - The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability will finally investigate an alleged P200-million scam in the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Agriculture Department concerning the importation of onions and garlic in the country.

The investigation was triggered by House Resolution 341 filed by Rep. Elpidio Barzaga in September last year.

Barzaga said he based his resolution on news reports alleging that one "Leah Cruz" and her alleged dummy companies are monopolizing the importation of garlic and onions.

The investigation will take place Tuesday next week and has among its guests Leah Cruz, president of the Vegetable Importers and Exporters Association; Lilibeth Valenzuela, president of the Philippine Vegetable Importers Inc.; Atty. Ariel Genaro Jawid of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption; Clarito Barrion, director of the Bureau of Plant Industry; and Orlando Marguilencia, the alleged broker of Cruz.

Barzaga said they are looking into the records of Cruz in the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He said there have been news reports saying Cruz is the only one who has import permits for the country for onion and garlic.