Planters laud Malacañang for absolving former execs in sugar importation | Inquirer News

Planters laud Malacañang for absolving former execs in sugar importation

/ 08:24 PM January 06, 2023

Planters laud Malacañang for absolving former execs in sugar importation.

Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) | FILE PHOTO

BACOLOD CITY — Two planters federations lauded Malacañang for absolving four former officials over the foiled importation of 300,000 metric tons (MT) of refined sugar in August 2022.

Enrique D. Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), and Danilo Abelita, president of the Panay Federation of Sugarcane Farmers (Panayfed), in a joint statement on Friday, January 6, said that justice prevailed in the decision of the Office of the President in clearing former Agriculture and Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) officials of wrongdoing in issuing the controversial sugar order.

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“Justice is served by Malacaňang’s recent decision, which upheld that there was no bad faith, malice, misconduct nor dishonesty committed by the four officials in the issuance of Sugar Order No. 4. We have supported the sugar order right from the start, and we are happy for Confed president Aurelio ‘Bodie’ Valderrama, Jr. that this decision eventually cleared his name of any wrongdoing,” Rojas and Abelita said.

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On Aug. 9, 2022, the Sugar Board issued Sugar Order No. 4, authorizing the importation of 300,000 MT sugar.

Composing the sugar Board were Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, representing President Marcos as Agriculture secretary, SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, and SRA Board Members Valderrama, representing the planters and Roland Beltran representing the millers.

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Sebastian believed a memorandum from then-Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez authorized him to sign the sugar order on behalf of the President.

When the President learned of the sugar order, he disapproved, prompting SRA to withdraw it.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and Office of the President investigated the four officials after misconduct allegations.

Despite the charges, the NFSP, Panayfed, and Confed, which produce over 50 percent of national sugar, supported Valderrama. The three federations affirmed their trust in Valderrama.

Recently, the Office of the President released the result of its investigation which was approved and signed by the new Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The decision absolved the four of any liability and dismissed the case against them.

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Ex-officials of DA, SRA in sugar importation mess absolved

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TAGS: importation, Malacañang, SRA, sugar

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