Alleged corruption in PCA to be probed
Sen. Francis Pangilinan has filed Senate Resolution 338 directing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged corruption at the Philippine Coconut Authority.
Last March 15, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., chairperson of the PCA Governing Board, issued a resolution suspending PCA Administrator Avelino Andal for allegedly extorting P1.50 per board foot of trees being cut in Basilan, Mindoro, Marinduque, and Quezon as well as his alleged order to collect fees on transport permits.
The collected fees purportedly amounted to as much as P90 million in Basilan alone.
Andal has said the accusations against him are in connection with the anticipated enactment of Senate Bill 1233 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act.
Pangilinan said the rift between the PCA and the Office of the Cabinet Secretary “casts a serious doubt on the integrity, capacity, and reliability of PCA to administer the proposed (coco levy) trust fund which must be investigated.”
The bill, pending second reading in the Senate, proposes to establish the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund estimated at about P100 billion in cash and assets for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.
Pangilinan said Andal should not blame the Liberal Party for his troubles.
Andal accused Cabinet Undersecretary Halmen Valdez of orchestrating the black propaganda operations against him in view of Valdez’s purported connection with Pangilinan, who is former Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM).
Pangilinan said he resigned as PAFSAM on September 30, 2015, months before Valdez joined OPAFSAM.