Jason Aquino, who has led the state-run agency for a year and eight months, is being blamed for the shortage of rice, prompting prices to spike and consumers to line up in markets for hours just to secure their grains.
NFA administrator should face charges — Pangilinan
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 12, 2018 - 11:23am

MANILA, Philippines — National Food Authority Administrator Jason Aquino should face charges amid the surge in rice prices and dwindling supply of Filipinos’ staple food.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, former presidential assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, stressed this Wednesday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Aquino had requested to be replaced.

Duterte said that his appointee had told him that “he’s tired and he cannot cope with the dynamics inside.”

“He (Aquino) should have been fired rather than him asking to be relieved. In fact, charges should be filed against him,” Pangilinan said in an interview on ANC's “Headstart.”

Although presidential appointees have been removed or asked to resign from government over allegations of corruption and of taking excessive trips abroad, the Palace has not led in filing charges against ex-officials.

Pangilinan added: “He has to explain how this buffer stock, which mandated by law should be 30 days during lean months is now down to two days. Where did the 28 days worth of rice go?”

Aquino, who has led the state-run agency for one year and eight months, is being blamed for the shortage of rice, prompting price spikes and long lines at markets for NFA rice.

'President given terrible advice'

Pangilinan said that the NFA's problem is a combination of “corruption” and “inefficiency.”

“The president has been given terrible advice regarding the rice crisis because the truth is the rice crisis is [caused by] rice traders manipulating the supply of rice in cahoots with NFA officials,” Pangilinan claimed.

Stalwarts of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party, which include Pangilinan, Sen. Bam Aquino and Vice President Leni Robredo, have been calling for Aquino’s resignation over his supposed incompetence in addressing the rice problem.

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