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Osmeña: Ombudsman should suspend Alcala

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:17 PM January 08, 2015

Sen. Serge Osmeña III. NOY MORCOSO III/INQUIRER.net

Sen. Serge Osmeña III. NOY MORCOSO III/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman should suspend  Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, who was implicated  in the alleged  garlic cartel  in the country that resulted in a surge of prices last year,  Senator Serge Osmeña said  on Thursday.

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“I think he (Alcala)  should be suspended at least while investigations are going on, but that’s up to the Ombudsman  siguro,” Osmeña  said during a weekly  forum  at the Senate when  asked about the string of  corruption allegations  against government officials.

The latest  allegation against Alcala was made by a certain Lilybeth  Valenzuela, a garlic  importer, who claimed that  at least  P200 million was paid to officials of the Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI) over the past five years in exchange for import permits for garlic that resulted in a surge in prices in 2014.

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Valenzuela  was also quoted in media reports as saying that  former BPI Director Clarito Barron had told importers that they must have Alcala’s “blessings” first before they could be issued the import permits.

Osmeña was convinced  that the issuance of import permits indeed got the blessings of Alcala.

“Oo lahat yan may blessings ng Secretary,” said the senator.

Senator Francis  “Chiz” Escudero said these allegations against the Agriculture chief  were “very serious that must be investigated to the fullest.”

“This is not the  first time allegations   of corruption  have been hurled against  Secretary Alcala. Either someone is really out to destroy, get him, or, as the saying  goes, where  there is smoke, there is fire,” Escudero said  in a text message to reporters.

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TAGS: Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, garlic cartel, Nation, News, Office of the Ombudsman
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