Miscarriage of justice (1)

Why was the Press Secretary not invited to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee? She started the sugar imbroglio.

A miscarriage of justice — there is no other conclusion that one can reach to describe the findings as contained in the report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the probe of the sugar controversy arising from the issuance of Sugar Order 4 signed by resigned Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, and former Sugar Regulatory Administration chairperson Hermenegildo Serafica and board members Aurelio Gerardo Valderama Jr. and Roland Beltran. The said Senate committee report was hastily done and based on flawed reasoning and convoluted legal basis.

There is much to be desired in the just concluded Senate investigation on the controversial issuance of SO4. For one, it was terminated abruptly without the minority senators given the opportunity to ask clarificatory and probing questions to ferret out the truth relative to the testimony of the Executive Secretary, which appears to contain contradictory statements.

One glaring contradiction is the latter’s admission before the Senate committee the first time he appeared thereat that it was he who asked the SRA to draft the order for the proposed importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar. In his second appearance, however, before the Senate committee, he claimed he had nothing to do with the issuance of SO4.

How could the ES have nothing to do with its issuance when he was the one who gave the instruction to the SRA to prepare it? Why the rush to end the Senate probe when certain hitherto facts and circumstances surrounding the release of SO4 were just beginning to unfold?

Why was the Press Secretary not invited to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee? She started the sugar imbroglio when she fed the media the alleged irregularity and unlawful act committed by Mr. Sebastian.

The Press Secretary should have been invited to attend the Senate inquiry for her to explain the following:

1. Why did she irresponsibly and recklessly accuse Mr. Sebastian of committing an illegal act in issuing SO4 when the latter was given the delegated power to perform such act by virtue of the grant of additional function and duty contained in the memorandum of 15 July 2022, addressed to him and signed by the Executive Secretary “By Authority of the President”?

2. Why did she make the public believe by her official pronouncements that the ES had no prior knowledge of the existence and issuance of SO4 until it was posted on the SRA website, when by admission of the ES, he was the one who asked the SRA to draft the sugar importation order.

(To be continued)

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