MANILA -- Sen. Imee Marcos on Thursday condemned the supposed harassment suffered by farmers who spoke as witnesses during the Senate's investigation on the onion crisis last Tuesday.
Marcos said that police officers from Bayambang, Pangasinan went to the homes of the farmers who appeared as witnesses during the Senate agriculture panel's hearing to order them to recant their testimonies.
"Hands off lang po sa mga testigo ng Senado! Natatakot na ang mga magsasaka ng sibuyas sa biglaang pagkakatok ng pulis kagabi hanggang ngayong umaga upang papirmahin ng sinumpaang salaysay na nagbabaliktad sa kanilang ibinunyag sa Senado nung Martes," said Marcos, sister of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.
According to the senator, the orders came from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
"Utos raw ng DILG at ng NTF-ELCAC. CPP-NPA ba ang turing natin sa maliliit na magsasaka sa liblib? Hands off po sa ating mga testigo, lalu't nagsasabi ng totoo, masakit man marinig," said Marcos, who initiated the probe into the onion crisis.
She showed a copy of the memoranda from the DILG, NTF-ELCAC, and PNP supposedly ordering their officers to "verify" a farmers' group's revelation during the Senate hearing that at least five farmers in Pangasinan had committed suicide due to losses from onion farming.
Senators, farmers, and stakeholders on Tuesday blamed the Department of Agriculture's "poor planning" that supposedly led to the skyrocketing price of local onions, which peaked at around P700 per kilo during the holiday season.
The DA is currently being headed by the president pending a permanent appointment.