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Sep 26, 2018 @ 9:29

Ill-advised payment of NFA loan: Roque wants Jason Aquino punished for causing rice crisis

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday said he was willing to file malversation and graft charges against former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino.

“Kung walang magpa-file, ako mismo ang magpa-file. At hindi lang for technical malversation, papaylan ko rin siya ng graft,” Roque said in a Palace media briefing.

Roque questioned the NFA official’s decision not to use the PHP5.1 billion subsidy from the national government to buy rice from local farmers to boost the buffer stock, resulting in the shortage of NFA rice and price increases.

“Cause injury to the public and to the government is also graft,” Roque said.

Roque said even the Commission on Audit issued a red flag on NFA for using the P5.1 billion to pay maturing loans instead of securing stock of rice.

“To set the record straight, mas marami pa po akong isasampa (I have more to file),” he added.

He clarified that he has not accused Aquino of actual financial graft but vowed “to look into it soon”.

“And not only that, I also know that some importers are already preparing to sue him,” he said.

Roque said the government-to-government scheme being used by NFA to import rice was prone to irregularities.

“Iyong ating proseso ngayon na may monopoliya, prone po talaga iyan to graft and corruption. (This process, which has monopoly, is really prone to graft and corruption),” he explained.

“Maski sabihin mo na may mga accredited importers, siyempre may favoritism pa rin diyan. At iyong G-to-G, that’s the worst kasi walang may alam kung anong prosesong nangyayari sa G-to-G; sila-sila lang. (Even if you are saying that there are accredited importers, of course there is favoritism and this G-to-G, that’s the worst because nobody knows what’s happening in the process. It’s only them),” he added.

Aquino’s resignation, he said, has been accepted by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President has reiterated on numerous occasions that his administration will not tolerate even a whiff of corruption,” Roque said.

Duterte recently placed NFA the along with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The President earlier said he would appoint Philippine Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista, to replace Aquino as NFA administrator after his retirement from military service on October 15. (PNA)


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