Salceda explains why he's letting another House panel finish probe on agri smuggling

The Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda-led Committee on Ways and Means will give way to another House panel regarding the chamber's inquiry on the onion price surge and agricultural smuggling.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda

Salceda had this to say Monday, Feb,. 6, noting that he had "sought advice" from House Speaker Martin Romualdez on the matter.

"I sought advice from the Speaker. Naka-anim na hearings na po yung Committee on Agriculture and . So minabuti niya na i-concentrate muna doon nang matapos sila. Kasi it's been ongoing, baka we might, ano... (The Committee on Agriculture and Food has held six hearings on it already. So he thought it best to concentrate the probe there, to have them finish. Because it's been ongoing, we might...)," he said.

"But at certain point, he says, that he recognizes the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means," Salceda said of Romualdez, Leyte’s 1st district congressman.

For a time, Salceda's ways and means panel and the agriculture and food panel chaired by Quezon 1st district Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga conducted separate, but concurrent, public inquiries on the onion price issue and the broader issue on agricultural smuggling.

The ways and means panel last held a hearing on the related issues last Jan. 23. It was during that meeting that the names of 10 alleged big-time agricultural smugglers were mentioned by Suldan Kudarat 2nd district Rep. Horacio Suansing Jr.

The 10 personalities were slated to appear in a subsequent Jan. 30 hearing, but it was canceled at the last minute.

Salceda on Monday also admitted that his committee had been struggling to analyze all the paperwork it has been receiving on the matter, saying they're "simply voluminous to make sense out of it".

"So being research-driven, personally, mas minabuti ko po na pagbigyan muna yung (I think it would be best to give way to the) to complete their investigation into the smuggling issue with respect to agricultural products," he said.