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Palace tells Senate to file charges vs execs linked to smuggling of agri goods

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace tells Senate to file charges vs execs linked to smuggling of agri goods
In this undated photo shows the office of the Senate of the Philippines in Pasay City, Manila.
The STAR / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday called on senators to file charges against officials linked to the smuggling of agricultural products so they can face the allegations against them.

A committee report on the Senate's probe into large-scale agricultural smuggling tagged Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero and 21 other individuals as smugglers or their protectors.

Other persons who were mentioned in the Senate committee of the whole's 63-page report were BOC Deputy Commissioner for intelligence Raniel Ramiro; Deputy Commissioner Vener Baquiran; BOC directors Jeoffrey Tacio and Yasser Abbas; Bureau of Plant Industry director George Culaste; Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Eduardo Gongona; Laarni Roxas of the plant industry bureau's plant quarantine services division; a certain Toby Tiangco; a certain Mayor Jun Diamante; a certain Gerry Teves; David Tan; Manuel Tan; Jude Logarta; Leah Cruz alias "Luz Cruz" Andy Chua; George Tan; David Bangayan; Paul Teves; Tommy Go and Wilson Chua.

"We are one with the Senate in fighting corruption in the bureaucracy," acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said in a statement.

"File the necessary charges before the Office of the Ombudsman so officials and persons mentioned in the Senate report could be afforded due process, face their accusers, and have their day in court," he added.

The report, which cited intelligence information, was released after a meeting of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who also heads the senate committee of the whole, and president-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Sotto said he has urged Marcos to replace all the top officials of the agriculture department, citing the results of the Senate investigation.

Earlier this month, Marcos announced that he would temporarily lead the agriculture department to prepare the agency for the looming food crisis.

“As to agriculture, I think the problem is severe enough that I decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, at least for now, and at least until we can reorganize the Department of Agriculture in a way that can make it ready for the next years to come,” the incoming president said in a recent press briefing.

Marcos has also vowed to prioritize the agricultural sector to achieve food sufficiency. 

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