Serafica says leaving SRA post 'with clear conscience'

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 16 2022 08:09 PM

MANILA — Sugar Regulatory Administration Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica said he is resigning with a "light heart and a clear conscience."

Amid the sugar importation controversy, Serafica said he has performed his duties within the bounds of the law.

"Today, I am officially leaving my post with a light heart and clear conscience knowing that I performed the functions of my office consistent with, or within the bounds of the law," his statement read.

"Before I was asked to become part of SRA, I was a simple farmer. After this, I will go back to my first love, farming. I never thought of becoming a public servant but I became one. It was a long and taxing job but definitely meaningful and I thank those who gave me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve the sugarcane industry and the Filipino people," he added.

Serafica resigned on August 10 but waited for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s approval before making it public.

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The Palace has confirmed the acceptance of Serafica's resignation through Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez's letter dated August 15, 2022.

Prior to this, two other signatories of the controversial sugar importation order, Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian and Board Member Atty Roland Beltran, also tendered their resignations.

The other signatory, planters' representative and acting board member Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama, said he has already explained his side to the President. For now, he remains part of the Sugar Board.

"I have not resigned. I have not received any instructions from the president. I wrote the President a letter and I told the president I am at his disposal. If he finds that there is something wrong, e di, he tells me to resign. It's as simple as that," he told ABS-CBN News.

He said he was prudent in affixing his signature to the document.

"I exerted every possible effort to ensure propriety before affixing my signature on the Sugar Order in question. I was therefore shocked when news came out that the Presidential Spokesperson called the sugar order illegal, without the benefit of a formal meeting," he said.

He also justified the importation order, saying it was based on data.

"The proposed sugar importation was based on SRA's official data and supply/demand analysis, as well as prevailing high market prices, which established a clear basis on additional imports," Valderrama added.

He called for a fair investigation on the issue.