DOJ to place rice broker on lookout bulletin

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2014 04:08 PM | Updated as of Mar 12 2014 12:08 AM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will heed the request of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food to place rice broker Elizabeth Faustino under the Bureau of Immigration's (BI) Lookout Bulletin.

"If indeed requested by the Committee, will do that," said Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, in a text message, to ABS-CBN News.

The request was made during Tuesday's Senate hearing on rice smuggling.

A Lookout Bulletin Order (LBO) will not prevent the subject from leaving the country, but merely directs all immigration officers in various ports of exit to be on alert for his/her possible departure.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairperson Sen. Cynthia Villar also cited Faustino, treasurer of Biklat, a federation of rice cooperatives, for "conditional contempt” after failing yet again to appear before the Senate probe.

She was summoned to appear before the committee to shed additional information on the alleged involvement of former Tourism Authority administrator Nixon Kua in rice smuggling.

In 2012, Faustino appeared before the same committee and testified that she helped finance the bid of winning cooperatives to import rice. She then claimed that she got the money, amounting to P60 million per cooperative for service fees, from Kua, who promised her a commission of 30-percent.

Kua was shot dead in July 2012 by unidentified assailants.