Rodriguez shows up at Senate probe on sugar mess

Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez arrives at the Senate for the Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the sugar import mess. (Screengrab from video courtesy of Sen. Francis Tolentino)

September 6, 2022

Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez appeared before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Tuesday after the panel approved the motion to subpoena him to attend the hearings into the sugar importation fiasco.

In an executive session, the panel voted through secret balloting on the motion requested by Senator Risa Hontiveros to subpoena Rodriguez to attend the panel’s third hearing.

Of the 17 members of the panel, 14 participated and 11 members voted in favor of subpoenaing Rodriguez. Three members were against it and three members decided to abstain.

Earlier, Rodriguez had informed the panel through a letter that he would not be able to attend the hearings on the sugar mess “upon the instructions” of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

‘No signal from my end’

Rodriguez apologized to the senators for skipping the hearings of the panel.

“I have no intention to disrespect the honorable members of the Senate and the Senate as an institution, that is why immediately when I learned that the subpoena was issued, I don’t want to but I have to inform His Excellency even if he is on his state visit,” he said.

The executive secretary insisted that Sugar Order No. 4 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration had no basis.

Rodriguez was referring to he SRA resolution that supposedly authorized the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar into the country,

“I deny there was a signal from my end that I have given them (SRA) the go-ahead to pass that resolution or Sugar Order No. 4 calling for the importation of more or less 300,000 metric tons of sugar,” he said.

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