Duterte administration’s ‘strong anti-corruption stance’ a mere lip service?

Published March 17, 2021, 8:04 PM

by Mario Casayuran

One weakness of the Duterte administration is it’s almost habitual inability to make accountable officials who may have been involved in corruption, Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said today.

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

‘’This does not speak well of the oft-repeated threat of President Duterte and his supposed strong stand against corruption in government,’’ Lacson pointed out.

‘’Lip service cannot solve our country’s problems. Decisive action does,’’ he added.

Lacson unleashed these jabs as he continues issuing statements related to his ‘’tong pats’’ (commission) expose against a possible multi-billion-peso corruption at the Department on Agriculture (DA) on an impending pork importation.

Lacson said everything and everybody who might have been responsible would be included in the investigation by the Senate convened as a Committee of the Whole (COW).         

The Senate, in today’s plenary session, referred to the COW Lacson’s resolution seeking a full-dress probe into the DA irregularity.

Earlier, the Senate had questioned   DA’s recommendation for the importation of 400,000 kilos of pork although the country only needs 50,000 kilos and why it wanted the tariff reduced from 30-40 to five-to-10 tariff rate.

In a recent Senate hearing, Senator Cynthia A. Villar said importers would still make money whether the tariff rate is reduced or not.

It is in the reduced tariff and increased Minimum Access Volume (MAV) that corruption may take place.

Lacson said one issue that needs to be explained is why former Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronnie Domingo was transferred only last January 28,2021 as officer-in-charge (OIC) at the Carabao Center.

‘’He was responsible for issuing numerous SPSIC or Sanitary Phyto-Sanitary Import Clearance since June 2018 during the term of former DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol up to September 2020 (and) under Secretary (William) Dar despite several memorandums from both secretaries to ban pork importation from previously identified countries with ASF (African Swine Flu) like Hungary, Belgium, Germany, China, etc.,’’ he said. “ Why he was merely transferred and not investigated and made accountable by the DA will also be asked of Secretary Dar,” Lacson said.

 
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