MANILA, Philippines–Malacanang Palace on Saturday said the issue on the alleged P6 billion rice smuggling which also implicated its two cabinet members should be better left to government investigating agencies.
As calls for resignation have already been made against Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala and National Food Authority Administrator Orlan Calayag on the alleged issue, Abigail Valte, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson, said the case is now being investigated again.
“Let’s leave it for now. The National Bureau of Investigation has opened anew its investigation based on the Senate committee reports forwarded to Department of Justice and to them. We all know that the first attempt on the investigation yielded no positive identity on the personalities of Danny Ngo and David Tan despite their diligent checking and investigation of records.”
“Nobody has come forward also to help in the investigation…Hopefully the second time around the investigation will bear positive results,” Valte said on DzRB-Radyo ng Bayan.
As it is on-going, we will not issue comments yet on some of their findings, Valte added.
“But we express the hope that it will yield the positive result this time.”
Pressed whether Pres. Benigno Aquino has “marching order” to its cabinet members “who are or will be tagged on alleged anomalies and controversies,” Valte answered “it depends on the supposed anomaly or controversy that a particular member of the official family is being linked to.”
“It is still hypothetical to date. At this point, we’ll not issue comment yet. But in the past that we’ve dealt with cases like this, it depends on the subject of allegation. I mean, it is properly sifted through.”
According to Valte, all the cabinet members have “commitment” to the president, also setting aside the issue that cabinet officials have “performance contract.”
“With our without the performance contract, they always have a commitment to the President, Valte said.
Meanwhile, lawyer-activist Argee Guevarra said that DOJ “should focus instead on investigating the ‘Quezon Mafia” running the public-sector rice cartel in the Department of Agriculture.”
“It is pointless now to chase ghosts like David Tan and Danny Ngo because the rice cartel has been taken over by Sec. Alcala’s “Quezon Mafia,’” Guevarra said.
Guevarra, who filed plunder charges against Alcala and Calayag, earlier said that “ the surfacing of David Tan’s name in rice smuggling activities is a smokescreen for the ‘legitimized’ public-sector rice smuggling being conducted by Sec. Proceso Alcala and NFA Chief Orlan Calayag thru their government-to-government rice importation schemes where they are accused of earning kickbacks from past G2G importation.”