NFA head, 138 others suspended

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
NFA head, 138 others suspended
The National Food Authority-Negros Occidental
pna.gov.ph / PNA Bacolod file photo

MANILA, Philippines — National Food Authority administrator Roderico Bioco and 138 other officials and employees involved in an alleged anomalous sale of NFA rice to two traders were placed yesterday on preventive suspension for six months.

The suspension – an implementation of the order issued earlier by the Office of the Ombudsman – stemmed from the sale of 75,000 bags of rice, part of the country’s buffer stocks, for P93.75 million.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said those suspended include NFA assistant administrator for operations John Robert Hermano, 12 regional managers, 26 branch managers and 99 warehouse supervisors all over the Philippines.

“Today (Monday) we are implementing the preventive suspension order of the ombudsman against 139 officials and employees of the NFA who are being investigated for alleged involvement in the controversial sale of rice buffer stocks,” Laurel said at a press conference.

“I condemn this (illegal sale) and we will not tolerate any form of corruption. I am one with the ombudsman in its aim to ferret out the truth and penalize those involved. I have been in contact with the Office of the Ombudsman ever since the controversy erupted. I also created a special panel of internal investigators to determine the culpability and see how we can prevent it from happening in the future,” he added.

The DA chief also announced that he would remain as NFA officer-in-charge until President Marcos appoints a new administrator.

“To avoid delay in the services and projects of the agency, I will temporarily take over the leadership of NFA… We expect everyone in the agency to do their regular jobs to ensure that our countrymen are provided with the service they deserve,” he said. — Cecille Suerte Felipe

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