Farmers party-list says more qualified agri officials should replace Sebastian

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2022 03:52 PM

MANILA—Officials who recommended the appointment of Leocadio Sebastian as Department of Agriculture Undersecretary and officer-in-charge should no longer be allowed to refer other people as his replacement, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

Sebastian resigned last week after he signed a resolution—over the importation of some 300,000 metric tons of sugar—on behalf of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. without the consent of the chief executive.

“Those who were involved, who recommended him for the position should not be given the same chance again to recommend,” Magsasaka Party-list Rep. Argel Cabatbat said in an online forum.

“Sana mapagbigyan na ng tiyansa iyong mga qualified na tao. Marami diyan sa DA… Kung puwede na iba naman ang mag-handle,” he said.

Cabatbat did not name any official.

“Mas maganda iyong recommendation ng industriya, ng stakeholders, ng farmers,” Cabatbat said.

“I think the president should also ask for their opinion kung sino sa tingin nila ang magandang replacement,” he said.

“Hindi po kami laban sa lahat ng importation kasi kailangan talaga natin mag-import ng mga bagay na wala tayo dito pero yung mag-import just in time for harvest, sampal po yan sa aming mga magsasaka,” he said.

Cabatbat said his party-list wants to ensure that Marcos succeeds in his push to strengthen the agriculture sector in the next 6 years.

“Gusto namin magtagumpay ang presidente dahil kapag hindi naging maganda ang pagpapatakbo sa DA, kawawa din ang lahat,” he said.

“Sana po ay mapili natin yung pinaka competent na may puso na makatulong ninyo sa Department of Agriculture,” he said.

Malacañang has yet to announce if the President already has a shortlist of officials who could possibly take the post vacated by Sebastian.

An internal investigation over the “illegal” signing of Sugar Order No. 4 is still ongoing, the Palace said earlier this week.

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