– Presses PNoy on why he coddles Alcala and raises prospects of impeachment or ouster in 2014
MANILA, Philippines-After filing plunder charges against Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala for overpriced rice importation from Vietnam last April and after exposing the new wave of kickbacks amounting to as much as P1.9 billion in the wake of fresh round of rice importation, activist-lawyer Argee Guevara renewed his call for Alcala’s resignation by urging him to “do a Biazon” as an “early Christmas gift to the hungry Filipino poor.”
“By again ‘importing’ millions of sacks of rice for the next three months from the same Vietnamese corporation, Proceso Alcala and his cabal in the DA are bound to sack almost two billion pesos in cold cash,” Guevarra exclaimed.
“He deserves nothing but to be sacked. Better yet, he should resign from the Agriculture Department to pave the way for the dismantling of the infrastructures for corruption within the department”
Guevarra refers to Alcala’s recently approvedc transaction of importing 500,000 metric tons of “high-grade” rice from Vietnam starting last November using supertyphoon Yolanda to rationalize the imports, with the amount of USD462.25 per metric ton, or P10.14 billion.
Citing raw or freight-on-board prices of Vietnam rice based on prevailing market prices in December 2013, Guevarra noted that high-grade Vietnam rice is worth only a maximum of USD440 per metric ton, but “in reality, Alcala through National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Orlan Calayag will import very low quality Vietnam rice worth USD375 per metric ton.”
In his plunder complaint, Guevarra also cited Alcala’s violation of his own department’s “Philippine Staples Self-Sufficiency and NFA Roadmaps 2011 to 2016 which declared the policy to allow the expiration of quantitative restriction on imported rice by 2012 and replace with equivalent tariffs; and limit NFA’s role to buffer stocking for 30days and lend price support to farmers.
Alcala also faces plunder charges filed by a farmers group for the involvement of his line agencies in the Napoles pork scam.
Referring to the recent resignation of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Local Water Utilities chief Rene Villa because of their alleged involvement in the Pork Barrel Scam, Guevarra said that “this month should be a road trip along PNoy’s message of ‘Tuwid na Daan’.
With Alcala presiding over the country’s rice self-sufficiency program but employing the contradictory policy of rice importation, Alcala will only perpetuate a program that every metric ton of rice importation will translate to a kilo of kickback.”
He also challenged Pres. Benigno Aquino III not to coddle Alcala and his cohorts if the President is true to his Tuwid na Daan agenda. “I wonder half-aloud why PNoy maintains in his cabinet a deadweight like Alcala. Is he part of the KKK? Was he a campaign contributor? There is simply no rational and redeeming explanation why Alcala remains part of the Malacanang family unless the President himself benefits from the perks of rice importation. If that is the case, the president is inviting impeachment and/or ouster moves. If not, then, PNoy must let go of Alcala and do the hungry poor a favor”.