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RICE IMPORTATION

Duterte’s sacking of Valdez stuns Evasco

Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. was “caught off guard” by President Duterte’s decision to sack his deputy, former Undersecretary Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez, Valdez said on Monday.

Valdez said her former boss tried to contact the President after she was fired on April 5 but he could not get through because Mr. Duterte was busy.

“(Evasco) was caught off guard. He did not have a clue about what happened,” Valdez said in an interview.

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“After the announcement, everyone who knew me was stunned. I was a confidential employee (of Evasco) and it was like his executive assistant was removed,” she added.

Duterte fired Valdez after accusing her of supposedly approving the importation of rice even though it was the harvest season.

On Monday, the President said Valdez signed the National Food Authority Council resolution overriding the decision of NFA administrator Jason Aquino not to extend the permits of rice importers to obtain rice from abroad.

Mr. Duterte said the authority to override Aquino rested with the Office of the President and not with Valdez.

However, Valdez said that the decision was collectively made by the NFA Council, with representatives from the agencies like Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the National Economic Development Authority and the Department of Finance also approving the resolution to extend the import permits.

Valdez said the President was given “incomplete information.”

She said that, before she was fired, Evasco tried to submit a memo and documents to President Duterte through the Office of the Special Assistant to the President but these apparently did not reach the President.

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TAGS: Leoncio Evasco Jr., Maia Chiara Halmen Valdez, Philippine news updates, rice importation
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