Palace: Marcos will not interfere in sugar import order probe

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will not interfere with the ongoing investigation on the supposed issuance of an order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar which was later rejected and deemed “illegal,” Malaca?ang said on Saturday.

In an interview on Radyo Pilipinas, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said, “He’s (Marcos) leaving the investigation to be conducted without his interference.”

She added that the President wanted the investigation to be “fair” and “objective,” despite an apparent “attempt to mislead him” since the Sugar Regulatory Board convened and issued a resolution without his approval.

Marcos, who currently sits as Secretary of Agriculture, is also the chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board.

“Is he supposed to uphold that? Is he supposed to go along with it? Is he supposed to trust that these things can work on their own even if he has no explicit authority given to these people?” Cruz-Angeles asked.

The Press Secretary said the investigation was being conducted by Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Richard Palpalatoc.

On Wednesday, Cruz-Angeles said Marcos had rejected proposals for the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.

The next day, she said Sugar Order No. 4, which was meant to green-light the importation of 300,000 metric tons, was “illegal” and an investigation was ongoing over the “unauthorized” signing of the document which appeared to be signed by Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian.

Cruz-Angeles, on Friday night, announced Sebastian resigned as undersecretary for operations and chief of staff to the Secretary of Agriculture as he apologized for having signed Sugar Order No. 4 without Marcos’s approval.

In a separate interview on PTV, the Press Secretary said apart from Sebastian all those who signed Sugar Order No. 4 were under investigation.

She said the probe would look into the extent of their involvement.

Apart from Sebastian, the order in question was signed by Sugar Regulatory Administration Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, who is also the vice chairperson of the Sugar Regulatory Board, and board members Roland Beltran and Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr.

Cruz-Angeles also said she had no information on whether the President accepted Sebastian’s resignation.

“Wala pa po tayong impormasyon tungkol diyan… late na namin natanggap kahapon… Ang mahalaga po kasi diyan sa kaniyang liham ay iyon pag-act niya doon sa pag-convene ng Sugar Regulatory Board at iyong paglalabas ng resolusyon,” she said.

(We still don’t have information on that matter… we received it late last night… The important thing is, in his letter, he spoke of convening the Sugar Regulatory Board and the issuance of the resolution.)

The Press Secretary also reiterated that Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez had no hand in the order to import sugar. — DVM, GMA News

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