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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Hontiveros: Suspend DA’s Panganiban

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros Monday called for the preventive suspension and investigation of Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

Hontiveros said she is calling the investigation of Panganiban “for his continuing help to create a powerful sugar cartel.”

She also rebuked Panganiban for extolling about the supposed cartel.

“That he is not under suspension and investigation only means one thing: his superiors see nothing wrong with him openly violating existing laws and usurping the powers and mandate of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA),” Hontiveros said.

The opposition senator questioned where Panganiban got the courage to say that this matter should just be ignored.

“Did he have the blessings of Malacanang to tell those calling out to follow the law to just be silent?” she asked.

She also said Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, former Supreme Court Chief Justice, should explain to the entire country why Panganiban has not been subjected to any investigation.

She said she also wants to know why Malacanang  did not junk or overturn the questionable and illegal order of the DA.

Undersecretary Leonardo Cervantes of the Office of the Executive Secretary admitted in a February 22 press conference that he cannot say if the sugar stocks now being cleared by Panganiban were imported legally or not, and that the President’s directive of importing sugar to bring down domestic prices should follow the processes under the SRA as required by law.

Hontiveros further said she  also wanted to ask if Panganiban merely followed Bersamin.

 “A word of advice to Undersecretary Panganiban: Pride comes before a fall. Stakeholders in the sugar sector have already committed to pursue criminal cases in relation to this Sugar Import Fiasco 2.0,” she said.

“I hope they are ready for the cases they will be facing,” she added

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