Tolentino: Rodriguez may miss hearings on sugar issue due to packed schedule | Inquirer News

Tolentino: Rodriguez may miss hearings on sugar issue due to packed schedule

/ 04:37 PM September 01, 2022
Despite the ongoing scrutiny on the sugar importation mess, Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez may not be able to attend hearings due to Cabinet meetings and the scheduled state visits of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Sen. Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino presides over one of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee proceedings. Senate PRIB file photo / Voltaire F. Domingo

MANILA, Philippines — Despite the ongoing scrutiny on the sugar importation mess, Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez may not be able to attend hearings due to Cabinet meetings and the scheduled state visits of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The development was revealed by Senator Francis Tolentino, chair of the blue ribbon committee investigating the sugar import fiasco.

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“May sulat sa’kin si Executive Secretary na sa susunod na mga pagdinig — ginagalang niya ang imbitasyon ng Senado kaya nga sa first hearing nandu’n na siya subalit dahil nga du’n sa mga gawain gaya ng mga Cabinet meetings — ay sinasabi niya baka dito sa mga darating na hearing ay hindi siya makadalo dahil itong mga state visits,” Tolentino told reporters in an interview on Wednesday evening.

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(The Executive Secretary has a letter for me that in the next hearings — he respects the Senate’s invitation, that is why he was there during the first hearing, but because of his duties like Cabinet meetings and state visits — he may not be able to attend the hearings.)

Marcos is scheduled to visit Indonesia and Singapore and attend the 77th United Nations General Assembly within the month.

According to Tolentino, Rodriguez believes that he has answered the questions directed to him about the “illegal” sugar importation order.

“Naniniwala siya na nasagot na niya ‘yung mga dapat tanungin dahil nag-volunteer nga siya pumunta ru’n, at ‘yung Sugar Order No. 4 was merely a draft and is still being studied and evaluated,” Tolentino said.

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(He believes that he has responded to the questions because he volunteered to go to the Senate, and Sugar Order No. 4 was merely a draft and is still being studied and evaluated.)

The senator likewise noted that the blue ribbon committee might just hold one more hearing on the issue.

“Kung susundin natin ‘yung structure ng hearings, hinihimay natin ‘yung paglabas ng ebidensya as against the number of witnesses, palagay ko isa na lang [hearing],” he said.

(If we follow the structure of hearings, the release of evidence is put against the number of witnesses.)

“Isa na lang na mas malalim na magkakaroon ng conclusion. Kasi ‘pag hinabaan pa natin, iikot na uli tayo. Habang umiikot tayo, parang nagiging teleserye na ‘yan,” he added.

(Just one more in-depth hearing to have a conclusion. Because if we stretch it, we will just go around. While we’re going around, it seems like a television series.)

Tolentino assured the public that someone would be held accountable for the matter.

“Meron po. Hindi lang ako magbabanggit ng pangalan,” he said when asked if there is a person who will be liable.

(There is. I will not mention names.)

“I don’t want to preempt. I don’t want to pre-judge. I don’t want to be biased. I don’t want to pre-conclude. It has to be based on facts, legitimate legal reasons, and based on law, and based on what was established during the hearings,” the legislator went on.

So far, the Senate blue ribbon panel has conducted two hearings on the sugar importation mess.

The probe stemmed from the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s Sugar Order No. 4, which authorizes the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, which Marcos Jr. immediately disowned.

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TAGS: hearing, import, Senate, sugar, sugar importation, Vic Rodriguez
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