Banned ‘magic sugar’ floods market


The government will not admit it, but the country is in a state of belligerency where rebels control certain areas and the government leaves them alone.

A stalemate, and neither side is winning.

The New People’s Army (NPA), Moro National Liberation Front (MILF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and even the bandit group Abu Sayyaf—have “shadow governments.”

That’s the reason rebels can ambush troops or attack police stations at will in areas they control.

That’s also the reason the NPA can impose “revolutionary taxes” on businesses in areas they have control, preventing politicians from campaigning in their areas if they don’t pay a toll.

That’s the reason the government has made a peace pact with the MNLF, and is about to conclude a peace agreement with the MILF, precisely because of the stalemate.

And the bandit group Abu Sayyaf can kidnap anybody for ransom with impunity.

That’s the reason Gingoog City Mayor Ruth Guingona, wife of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Sr. and mother of Sen. Teofisto Jr., was ambushed in a remote village in her city in Misamis Oriental province because she dared to visit an area controlled by the NPA.

The shadow governments in the provinces continue to exist because the Manila government is helpless in fighting them.

*  * *

Why did the Bureau of Customs allow the release of “magic sugar” into the market when it is a banned commodity?

Thousands of tons of the magic sugar shipment arrived from China a few months ago, but was held by customs.

Magic sugar is sweeter and cheaper than cane or ordinary sugar, but could cause cancer and liver and kidney failure, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

My sources in the customs bureau said a top official, who has been recommended by a Cabinet member, allegedly ordered the release for “a big monetary consideration.”

The customs official, according to my sources, collects bribes from smugglers through his runners, one of whom has an account with a big bank.

I was given the bank account number where bribes for the customs official are deposited and withdrawn, but I can’t mention it here.

* *  *

Masbate Prosecutor Richard Lee, whom we featured in this space twice in a row for alleged abuse of power, is now under investigation.

The result of the investigation will be submitted to Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, according to Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

The ball is now in Baraan’s court.

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