Issuance of Sugar Ordinance #4 ‘illegal’ due to lack of outright authorization – Tolentino

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino says the supposed lack of “outright authorization” on the controversial issuance of Sugar Ordinance No. 4 renders said policy “illegal”.

“It is illegal in the sense that from the preliminary determination of the established facts, there was no outright authorization for those who signed OS No. 4,” Tolentino said Monday during from an interview with CNN Philippines.

According to Tolentino, his panel will dig into the investigation scheduled for Tuesday into the validity of his initial assessment, as well as the other contents of SO 4.

Tolentino pointed out that there were certain provisions enshrined in OS 4 that were likely against the law, in particular “the ability to reclassify was vested in an individual – the powers of the council were arrogated to an individual”.

The senator said he and his colleagues are now trying to determine whether the so-called “facts leading up to the signing were in fact authorized.”

He explained that based on OS 4, suspended Agriculture Secretary Leocadio Sebastian “was allowed ‘to reclassify the amount of sugar to be imported’ but the document states that an approval is still required in this document. “.

“Whether he sought this approval (from Executive Secretary Victory Rodriguez or President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) is still a matter of fact and must be determined by the investigation,” he added.

During last week’s hearing, Sebastian and resigning Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica both claimed that Chairman Marcos had no objections to the proposed import of 300,000 metric tons of raw and refined sugar.

Sebastian said he and Serafica believed that Marcos and Rodriguez supported the import plan since he had been instructed by no less than the general manager “to actually draft the sugar”, as imports from SRA would cover the shortage in the market. local.

Rachel J. Bradford