Hontiveros exposes alleged P2-B profit from NFA ‘tara’ system
Outgoing National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino is not off the hook yet.
In a privilege speech on Monday, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros accused Aquino of being allegedly at the “center” of “massive corruption” in the NFA.
From the “tara” system alone, Hontiveros estimated that some P2 billion profit a year allegedly went to certain people.
“Mr. President, paano kumikita ang administrator dito? Simple. Ang kalakarang tara per bag ay between P100 to P150 – P100 kung kaibigan ka, P150 kung ‘di kayo masyadong close. Gawin na nating P100,” she said.
(Mr. President, how does the administrator earn from this? Simple. The grease money per bag could be between P100 to P150 — P100 if you’re friends, P150 if you’re not as close. Let’s just say it’s P100.)
The senator explained that the country imports 1 million tons of rice per year, and each ton contains 20 bags of rice.
“This means we import 20,000,000 bags of rice. Let us multiply 20,000,000 bags by P100. Twenty million bags multiplied by P100 is a windfall of P2 billion,” she said.
“Ito pa lang ang ‘entrance fee’ ng mga importer para mabigyan ng certificate of eligibility at import permit. Hindi pa kasama ang iba-ibang bayad pa para sa iba-ibang modus operandi. Hindi pa kasama ang service fee na bigla-bigla nalang pinataw sa administrasyon ni Jason Aquino.
(This is the entrance fee of the importers so that they can be given a certificate of eligibility and an import permit. The other fees for other modus operandi isn’t even included yet. The service fee that is suddenly imposed under Jason Aquino’s administration isn’t even included here.)
“In short, we are looking at a multi-billion peso enterprise. A multi-billion enterprise that has lined the pockets of a privileged few, and caused hunger to untold numbers of Filipinos,” Hontiveros further explained.
The senator said the former NFA administrator might be liable for “economic sabotage.”
“How much was paid to Aquino by private importers for allowing this modus operandi? We can only surmise. What criminal offense can be charged against him? Here, there is no surmising. Economic sabotage under Republic Act No. 10845,” she said.
Hontiveros said Aquino and his other conspirators in the NFA , as well as private traders and importers, must be charged for violating the law.
Senator Grace Poe also took the floor and echoed Hontiveros’ call that those liable must be put to jail.
“Siguro dapat talaga maipakulong na kasi kung hindi talaga napapakulong at hanggang ngayon ni isa wala pang napapakukulong dyan e, hindi matatakot ‘yang mga ‘yan,” Poe said.
(We really need to put them in jail because if they aren’t detained, not even one of them, they won’t be afraid.)
Hontiveros’ speech was later referred to the Senate blue ribbon committee being chaired by Senator Richard Gordon to further investigate the issue. /je
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