SRA planters representative vows to resign if Bongbong Marcos says so
BACOLOD CITY — The planters representative of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board on Tuesday, August 16, expressed willingness to resign if President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says so.
Aurelio Gerardo “Bodie” Valderrama Jr., one of the signatories of the controversial Sugar Order No. 4 that would have allowed the supposed importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar without the President’s approval, said he already sent a letter to the President on Monday to explain what happened.
“I will wait for the instructions of the President. I believe that I did not do anything wrong,” he said.
Valderrama said he was appointed to the sugar board by the President two weeks ago and did not ask for the position.
“I did not seek the appointment but accepted it with the intention of bringing the producers’ voice to the SRA and to help craft measures to address industry concerns,” he said.
Valderrama is the last man standing since the three other members of the board have already resigned.
“I am at your (President Marcos) disposal. If you feel that I need to resign, that I have lost your trust and confidence, you can just tell me any time. It was the president himself who appointed me here so I leave that decision to him,” he said.
Valderrama said he supports the Congress’ investigation into the issuance of Sugar Order No. 4, saying “the earlier, the better.”
“The proof that there is a current crisis and shortage of sugar in the country can be seen in its retail prices,” he said, pointing out that the retail price of refined sugar before was P50 a kilo and now it is more than P100.
“That in itself will tell you that there is a crisis, there is a shortage,” he said.
Valderrama said the sugar board would not have moved on Sugar Order No. 4 if there were no specific instructions. He, however, said he could not reveal the details as of this time as an investigation is underway.
Rafael Ocampo Jr., the lawyer of Valderrama, said it is not true that Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian was not authorized to issue Sugar Order No. 4.
“The records will speak for themselves. There is a delegation of authority,” he said.
“The president, of course, has control and supervision… so he can approve or disapprove, but it does not mean that it (Sugar Order No. 4) is illegal,” he said.
To say that the signing of SO4 is illegal is not fair, and all of these will be submitted in their position paper to Congress, Ocampo said.
Valderrama said he stands by his integrity and the truth.
He said he hoped Marcos would convene the sugar board at the earliest possible time to decide on measures to best address the current sugar crisis.
“When the appropriate solutions are put in place and a fair investigation is concluded, I as a member of the sugar board place myself at the disposal of the president, knowing I served with integrity and hoping that the truth will prevail above all else, in the interest of our stakeholders,” Valderrama sad.
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