Pinol submits to lifestyle check after allegations
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.