Traveling Palace execs stall Senate hearing
The Senate blue ribbon committee on Monday held off its probe of the 440,000 tons of imported sugar after four of its invited Cabinet officials and a former executive of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) skipped Monday’s hearing.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, deferred the hearing, saying the absence of the invited resource persons will prevent the panel from “digging deep” into the issues surrounding the questioned importation of 440,000 tons of sugar.
“I noticed the absence of several invited resource persons, notably members of the Cabinet. They should have been here and they would have given [the committee] critical information and testimony,” Tolentino said.
The committee on Monday began its probe of the controversy surrounding the arrival of imported sugar shipments prior to the issuance of Sugar Order No. 6, purportedly issued by Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.
Responding to Tolentino’s query, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin told the committee that the invited resource persons from the executive department were absent, purportedly because they were on separate trips abroad.
Panganiban is presently in Washington in the United States “on official mission,” Bersamin said, while Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual is in Indonesia for a “ministerial level conference.” INQ