Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability, said his panel will again invite Lopez to its congressional inquiry after Lopez failed to attend its hearing last week.
This came after Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, who authored House Resolution 1188, said Lopez was the principal resource person who could shed light on the issue.
At a congressional hearing last week, Evardone asked why Lopez was not around despite an invitation earlier sent to him by the committee secretariat.
“May we ask for the reason why the DTI secretary is absent for the second time around in connection with this proceeding?” Evardone said.
Trade Assistant Secretary Ireneo Vizmonte represented Lopez and said: “The Secretary is not available for this week and he gives his apology. I am not exactly aware of the reason why he is not available today, but I know for sure that he has another meeting or activity to attend.”
Evardone said the committee could not proceed with the hearing without Lopez’s presence.
“Unless you are ready to present the Secretary’s position on the EDC,” he told Vizmonte.
But Vizmonte said they could not speak in behalf of the Export Development Council.
This prompted the committee, then presided by Rep. Doy Leachon of Oriental Mindoro, to ask the committee secretariat to invited Lopez to attend the next hearing.
Aside from Vizmonte, the hearing last week was attended by resource persons from the Trade Department, Commission on Audit, Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. and Manila Exposition Complex, Inc.
Evardone’s HR 1188 says the Accredited Export Organization is a single umbrella organization selected by the Export Development Council to represent the concerns and interests of the export sector.
The accreditation will be for a period of three years, which may be renewed upon review by the EDC. In this regard, Republic Act 7844, otherwise known as the Export Development Act of 1994,” allows the AEO to, among other things, manage the Philippine Trade Centers and the authority to enter into contracts with promotion facilities or functions.
It further states that Rule HI, Section 1 E of the Rules and Regulations to Implement the “Export Development Act of 1994” allows an organization to be selected as the Accredited Export Organization if it is the dominant one among the existing export organizations.
In this regard, the AEO should be a non-stock and non-profit organization championing the interests of the private sector exporters, and representing the biggest number of active and multi-sectoral membership of direct, indirect and service exporters.
PHILEXPORT was selected by the EDC as the AEO in accordance with RA 7844.