Duterte commission clears agri chief Piñol of corruption

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2019 04:22 PM

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol. File

MANILA- Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has been cleared of corruption following a 7-month lifestyle check by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

The PACC in a statement Tuesday said it found no evidence to support allegations of unexplained wealth against Piñol.

A resolution clearing Piñol will be forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte, PACC chairman Dante Jimenez said.

"The PACC commends Secretary Piñol for coming forward and volunteering to be subjected to a thorough lifestyle check and investigation following allegations that he benefited from transactions in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture," Jimenez said.

Jimenez noted that Piñol opened all of his records to the PACC, including his bank accounts and financial documents.

Piñol was subjected to a lifestyle check last year amid allegations that he pocketed money from rice importation deals when he assumed the leadership of the National Food Authority (NFA) Council.

The NFA council, which decides on rice importation, is different from the NFA, the state grains agency. 

Duterte last year abolished the council and returned it under the control of the Department of Agriculture following concerns on rice supply.

The agriculture chief in a statement Wednesday said he was "overjoyed and overwhelmed" over the result of the lifestyle check.

"Today, I feel relieved. In fact, I am overjoyed and overwhelmed by the heartwarming statement issued by the PACC citing my action as proof that President Duterte has people around him who believe in his advocacy for upright and transparent governance," he said in a Facebook post.

"The easiest way would have been to issue statements denying it but I thought that denials would simply be self-serving. I have always believed that the best way to address issues is to hold the bull by its horns," he said.