Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday strongly criticized the appointment of Department of Agriculture (DA) Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban as the Department’s OIC.
“Domingo arrogated unto himself the powers of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) and now, instead of being punished, he is being rewarded by being appointed as its OIC?” noted Hontiveros.
For Malacanang and Panganiban, Hontiveros said it appears that “crime really does pay – it even rewards.”
In any other government, she said Panganiban would already be suspended and the subject of multiple criminal and administrative investigations for his issuances on the sugar importation.
The opposition senator, said this act, openly violated existing laws and enable the formation of a government sponsored sugar cartel in the country. Macon Ramos-Araneta
Instead of demotions or criminal or administrative charges, she said Panganiban is being provided by Malacanang with a plum new post at the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
“This is in stark contrast to their treatment of another DA official who resigned his post after being tagged in the controversial Sugar Order No. 4,” she said.
She also considers Panganiban’s appointment the epitome of impunity.
“What sort of message do we hope to send here to our fellow government employees, to our farmers, to our consumers by rewarding corruption instead of punishing it?” she asked.
If left unchecked, she said the large-scale smuggling and outright corruption in the selection of importers will be just the beginning.
“I fear that the SRA, under Panganiban, will continue to deny requests by industries to procure their own sugar supplies and justify the high prices of sugar being forced on consumers and businesses alike,” said Hontiveros
“I am also wary about Panganiban using his new position to cover his own tracks and issue gag orders, as he has done in the past, to derail investigations into his activities and the so-called “Sugar Fiasco 2.0,” she added.
In the end, she believes nothing will come out with this appointment.
She said the interests and pockets of our people will be at the losing end.