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Monday, June 17, 2024

Ombudsman accepts NFA apology over erroneous list

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THE Office of the Ombudsman has accepted the apology of the National Food Authority for the submission of an incomplete or erroneous list of personnel allegedly involved in the sale of rice supply to private traders.

“In fairness to NFA officer-in-charge Larry Lacson, he is doing his best to comply with our subpoena,” lawyer Ronald Chua of the Ombudsman Proper told the Manila Standard.

He believes that it just so happened that the warehouses were located in different areas.

“Maybe the agency has been encountering a gridlock. (But) as soon as the information is available, he sends everything (to us),” Chua said.

Lacson, in a March 25 letter, told Ombudsman Samuel Martires that “the undersigned would also like to take this opportunity to convey his apologies on behalf of the agency in the course of submitting the warehouse library as requested by the Department of Agriculture. The inadvertence in providing the list was mainly due to the urgency of the request, and not for anything else.”

The NFA transmitted to the Ombudsman a list of its personnel “who are already separated from government service (by virtue of death and retirement) and currently on leave (study and maternity).”

“Rest assured of our full cooperation in any conduct of investigation and our prompt submission of any document/s requested from this Office,” Lacson said.

“The natural course of action is to refer it (list) to the investigating team,” Chua said.

The Ombudsman previously issued a preventive suspension order against 139 NFA officials and employees in connection with its investigation on the sale of 75,000 bags of rice to traders without public bidding.

Martires later rescinded the suspension order against 23 NFA officers after finding out the DA provided them with incorrect data.

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