Pi­nol sub­mits to life­style check af­ter al­le­ga­tions

Gulf Times - - PHILIPPINES - By Wil­liam Depa­supil

Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Pi­nol vol­un­tar­ily sub­mit­ted him­self to a life­style check by the Pres­i­den­tial Anti-Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (PACC) for his al­leged in­volve­ment in cor­rupt prac­tices in the rice im­por­ta­tion pro­gramme.

Pi­nol per­son­ally handed a let­ter to PACC chair­man Dante Jimenez on Thurs­day, ask­ing the com­mis­sion to look into his fi­nances and as­sets, among oth­ers, to de­ter­mine the truth­ful­ness of the sup­pos­edly ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions against him, which he ad­mit­ted have both­ered him.

“Since the trans­fer of the Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity (NFA) to the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA), I have ob­served a pat­tern of me­dia sto­ries ap­par­ently in­sin­u­at­ing that there are fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions i.e rice im­por­ta­tion that I am in­volved with,” he said.

The lat­est of such sto­ries was his al­leged in­sis­tence dur­ing the NFA Coun­cil meet­ing that the pro­cure­ment of 203,000 met­ric tonnes of im­ported rice should be done through gov­ern­mentto-gov­ern­ment bid­ding.

“Noth­ing could be farther from the truth and the mem­bers of the NFA Coun­cil can at­test that I merely pre­side as chair­man and all ac­tions are re­sults of col­le­gial de­ci­sions” he said.

Pi­nol signed a waiver al­low­ing the com­mis­sion to have ac­cess to his sav­ings and check­ing ac­counts.

He said the ma­li­cious in­sin­u­a­tions against him were part of an or­ches­trated ef­fort to de­stroy his rep­u­ta­tion as a ded­i­cated pub­lic ser­vant, which started af­ter he in­tro­duced re­forms in the NFA.

“When we took over the NFA, right away I im­ple­mented the sug­gested re­tail price (SRP) on rice, which ef­fec­tively stopped hoard­ing. Be­cause of the SRP even if you hoard the rice and sell it later, the price will re­main the same,” he said.

Pi­nol added that he also lim­ited the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of rice to “reg­u­lar, well-mailed and pre­mium,” which put a stop to the mis­la­belling of rice va­ri­eties in the mar­ket.

He ex­pressed be­lief that the rice car­tel was be­hind the smear cam­paign be­cause they could no longer ma­nip­u­late prices of rice.

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