‘Probe past NFA admins’ billion-peso palay sales’

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
�Probe past NFA admins� billion-peso palay sales�
Workers unload sacks of rice at a warehouse in Tondo, Manila on February 24, 2024.
Ernie Penaredondo / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — Farmers’ group Federation of Free Farmers national manager Raul Montemayor asked Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. to include in the ongoing probe on the National Food Authority (NFA)’s questionable rice sale to some traders the alleged billions of pesos worth of fresh palay sold during previous administrations.

“What happened during the previous administrations (of NFA) should also be probed as based on the reports we received, it was even worse. It was bigger, billions of pesos worth. The stocks were freshly purchased and sold to traders and made it appear (that the palay) were sold to traders three or four months after to make it appear these were deteriorating stocks,” Montemayor said.

He added that the whistleblower, NFA Assistant Administrator for operations Lemuel Pagayunan should also be questioned as he was assigned in marketing prior to the appointment of embattled NFA administrator Roderico Bioco.

“During the previous years, freshly purchased palay (from the farmers) were sold to private traders and under the scheme, the documents from the NFA were released three months or four months later,” Montemayor said.

Laurel has instructed Bioco and Pagayunan to both take a leave of absence or be suspended.

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