NFA chief Arthur Juan resigns amid extortion claims
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the P15-million extortion allegations, National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Arthur Juan filed an irrevocable resignation — not over the accusations but for health reasons.
“It is with regret and sadness that we received yesterday (Thursday) afternoon the irrevocable resignation of Mr. Art Juan. He cited failing health as the reason for his stepping down,” Presidential Adviser on Food Security Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said in a statement sent to the media by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
Juan attempted to resign on August 15 but Pangilinan rejected it.
He was appointed last June 24 by President Benigno Aquino III as NFA council member and administrator.
“I continue to believe he is innocent of the charges brought against him,” said Pangilinan.
The former NFA chief was embroiled in a controversy over his alleged extortion of P15 million from rice trader Jomerito Soliman, who owned a Bulacan warehouse, following a raid by authorities. He claimed that in exchange for the reopening of his warehouse, Juan assured him that the charges against him would be dropped.
“This is a temporary setback in our reform efforts and it will not stop us from pursuing sweeping reforms in the NFA and the rice trade in the country,” Pangilinan added.
The 68-year-old Juan served as the president of San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI) from 2005 to 2009 before he was tapped to head the government agency.