Ex-DA secretary Alcala pleads not guilty in ‘garlic cartel’ graft case
MANILA, Philippines — Former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala has pleaded not guilty in a graft case filed against him before the Sandiganbayan over his alleged involvement in a scheme that created a “garlic cartel” that monopolized the market and jacked up garlic prices from 2013 to 2014.
Alcala and his co- accused in this case were present during the arraignment at the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division.
Alcala, who served as DA chief who under then President Benigno Aquino, is being accused of violating Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when he and other Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) officials granted 8,810 import permits to garlic dealers.
Of all the permits, 5,022 were given to the Vendors Association of the Philippines Inc. (Vieva), headed by a certain Lilia Cruz — whom Alcala supposedly placed as chairperson of the National Garlic Action Team (NGAT).
The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Alcala and others over these accusations, as it allowed Cruz to control the prices of garlic and its importation.
In April 22, Alcala posted a P30,000 bail for his provisional liberty. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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