MAYNILA - Muling sumalang sa interpellation sa Senado ang Committee Report No. 3 ni Sen. Francis Tolentino kaugnay ng naging resulta ng imbestigayon ng Senate Blue Ribbon Committee sa kontrobersiyal na Sugar Order No. 4.
Nagkainitan sina Sen. Risa Hontiveros at Tolentino sa usapin ng rekomendasyon ng Blue Ribbon Committee sa Ombudsman na kasuhan ang mga personalidad na nasa likod ng pagpirma sa SO4.
Binalikan ni Hontiveros ang ilang nilalaman ng Committee Report sa kakulangan ng supply ng asukal sa bansa, at ang liham ng National Economic and Develppment Authority sa Department of Finance na nagsasabing noon pa lang Abril 8 ay binanggit na ng NEDA ang supply ng asukal base sa liham ni dating NEDA Secretary Karl Chua kay dating Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.
“Kung aware po yung good chair na in fact as early as April 8, 2022, NEDA already flagged the limited supply, ito po ay nasa liham ni dating NEDA Sec. Chua - dated April 8, 2022 addressed kay then Finance Sec. Dominguez, pointing out a 116,000 metric tons supply gap ng iisang kumpanya pa lang- ang Coca-Cola,” sabi ni Hontiveros.
Binigyan-diin dito ng senadora na may indikasyon na ng kakulangan ng supply ng asukal sa kompanya ng softdrinks limang buwan bago ang paglalabas ng SO4.
Sabi ni Tolentino, maaring hindi siya pamilyar sa liham ni Chua kay Dominguez na hindi naman aniya kasama o bahagi ng Committee Report at hindi rin natalakay sa isinagawang imbestigasyon ng Blue Ribbon Committee.
“If the purpose of the good member of the minority is to put forward an official letter with the presumption of regularity after the submission of the committee report, we would note that, in conjunction with what is contained in page 2 of the NEDA, likewise which traces the prominent role of the sugar industry in the Philippine economic history. So all of this will have to be pieced together. And if the purpose of the gentlelady is to have this as part of the report, perhaps in the period of amendments, we can incorporate that," sabi ni Tolentino.
"If indeed the purpose is to establish that there is a sugar shortage which the report affirmed that there indeed was a sugar shortage, it might corroborate existing documents made part of this report,” dagdag niya.
Sabi pa ni Tolentino, base sa naging resulta ng kanilang pagdinig sa Blue Ribbon Committee, walang nangyaring konsultasyon bago ang paglalabas ng SO4.
“If you look at the transcript, the good Senate President who is here, almost 2-meters from me, delivered a passionate reiteration of privilege speech that there were several warehouses raided, and the last one was during our last hearing wherein 400,000 sacks of sugar in Nasugbu, Batangas were uncovered. During the investigation, this representation was the one who brought out the possibility of perhaps there was indeed no consultations made,” sabi ni Tolentino.
Pero sabi naman ni Hontiveros, nagkaroon ng konsultasyon kahit pa nagkaroon ng mga kalamidad noon gaya ng lindol.
“It was also heard by the committee that despite the aftermath of the July 27 earthquake, meron idinaos na konsultasyon. Not July 28 as mentioned by the good chair, but in fact July 29. At kasunod po no'n, lahat po ay humabol do'n sa deadline na August 2-3 ng kanilang mga rekomendasyon. Even the UNIFED lead by Mr. Lamata at lahat ng resolution, nakalagay do'n na sinusuportahan ang pag-import. At iba't ibang slightly different numbers ang inirekomenda. Pero karamihan would gravitate around the magnitude of around 300,000,” sabi ni Hontiveros.
Una nang inirekomenda ng Committee Report No. 3 sa Office of the Ombudsman na kasuhan ang suspendidong sina Agriculture Usec. Leocadio Sebastian, at ang nagbitiw na si SRA Administrator Herminigildo Serafica at mga dating Board Members na sina Roland Beltran at Aurelio Valderama.
“In addition to that, na sulat ni dating Sec. Chua kay dating Sec. Dominguez, is the good chair aware that in the June 7, 2022 meeting of the economic development cabinet cluster meeting, the recommendation made was actually to import 450,000 metric tons of sugar from Thailand and Brazil? And even with the recommended 450,000 metric tons of imported sugar combined with 450,000 metric tons of domestic sugar, there is still a supply deficit of 74,000 metric tons of raw sugar. Is the good chair aware of this?” tanong ni Hontiveros.
Sabi ni Tolentino, ang mga binanggit na ito ni Hontiveros ay ngayon lang din naman lumabas at hindi rin naman nito tinalakay sa mga nauna nilang pagdinig.
“We’re giving a presumption of regularity here. This was never tackled during the Blue Ribbon investigations. We were never able to have this documents as part of exhibits. So if this is a newly discovered evidence, it has to be placed in the right perspective," aniya.
"Ano po ang gustong palabasin? May shorfall, we agree! Ang gustong palabasin, mayroong document noong June - which we were never able to verify, although again we grant a presumption of regularity here. I don’t know if the rules will permit us to overhaul the marked evidence which were never shown during the committee hearing, otherwise I might be able to raise a point of order here,” dagdag pa niya.
Paniwala ni Hontiveros, hindi pa naman pinal ang report ng komite kaya nga nagkakaroon pa aniya ng tanungan o interpellation para sa ilang kinakailangang amyenda.
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