The House joint panel tackling the unauthorized importation of sugar is set to resume its briefing on the matter Monday, Aug. 22, despite the resignation of three Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) executives.
San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes and Quezon 1st district Rep. Mark Enverga–chairpersons of the Good Governance and Public Accountability and the Agriculture and Food Committees, respectively–will preside over the upcoming briefing.
“Ang pagpapatuloy ng Briefing ay sa kabila ng pagbibitiw nila SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica at Board Member Atty. Roland Beltran dahil gusto natin kunin ang kanilang panig sa naturang usapin (The briefing will continue despite the resignation of Serafica and Beltran because we want to hear their side in the matter),” Robes said to reporters on Tuesday, Aug. 16.
This, after the joint panel held a rather anticlimactic initial briefing on Monday. Several of the invited resource persons did not attend the briefing in person. And since it was only a briefing and not a full-blown House probe, none of them held under oath by the House.
“Ang Briefing na isinagawa ng dalawang committee ay upang malinawan ang Kongreso hinggil sa iba’t-ibang isyu na kinakaharap ng ating industriya ng asukal kasama na ang usapin sa supply at pagpapalakas sa ating lokal ng produksyon at mga magsasaka na kasali dito (The briefing conducted by the two committees want to clarify to the Congress the issues faced by the sugar industry, including the matter of supply and strengthening local production and the farmers involved),” Robes continued.
Much like the first briefing last Aug. 15, this one is not an inquiry in aid of legislation. The resource persons summoned before the panel will not be held under oath and thus, cannot have their statements and manifestations used against them.