Sugar importation mess probe continues despite Sebastian’s resignation, says Angeles

Published August 14, 2022, 1:29 PM

by Betheena Unite

After the resignation of Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, the ongoing investigation on the “illegal” sugar importation order pushes through, Malacañang said.

(Courtesy of OPS)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the recent development will be part of the facts of the ongoing probe and will be a factor in the findings.

“[I]yong pag-amin niya ay maipapasok iyon bilang sa ilan sa mga facts doon na idya-judge kumbaga. Magiging bahagi ng findings ng investigators natin (His confession will be among the facts that will be part of the judgment. It will be a part of the findings of our investigators),” she said in a televised interview on Saturday, Aug. 13.

“Aside from that of course, it could be easier na tanggalin siya doon sa puwesto (to remove him from his post) where it can affect the outcome of the case. So isa po iyon posibleng maging effect ng kanyang pag-resign (So that is the possible effect of his resignation),” Angeles added.

Sebastian stepped down from his post on Aug. 11. He resigned as the Department of Agriculture (DA) undersecretary for operations and chief of staff to the DA Secretary, President Marcos’ concurrent position.

In his letter to the President, he apologized for approving Sugar Regulatory Board Resolution No. 4 on behalf of Marcos. The order was made public on Aug. 11 but was later taken down online after the Palace made clear that the President neither approved nor signed the order.

The order authorized the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, which the Palace said, does not align with its stance on importing agricultural goods: import as little as possible and boost local production.

The investigation was immediately launched on Aug. 11.

Sebastian’s resignation was made public only on Friday night, Aug. 12.

Angeles further said that other officials involved in the convening of the board and signing of the unauthorized order are also part of the investigation, stressing that it is not Sebastian alone.

“Iniimbestigahan din po sila, hindi lang naman po si Undersecretary Sebastian. Siyempre kailangan tingnan natin lahat ng mga pumirma dito sa iligal na resolusyon na inilabas nila para sa importation ng sugar (They are also being investigated not just Undersecretary Sebastian alone. Of course, we also need to look into all those who signed the illegal resolution on the importation of sugar),” Angeles said.

She reiterated that heads will roll once the findings are out.