Officials behind the signing of the controversial Sugar Order No. 4 (SO 4)—suspended Agriculture Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian and resigned Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) chief Hermenegildo Serafica—insisted Friday they did nothing wrong.
This was despite the recommendation of the Senate blue ribbon committee on Thursday that they face administrative and criminal charges.
Both Sebastian and Serafica said their consciences are “clear,” with the latter adding: “I have nothing to hide.”
He and Sebastian attended Thursday’s hearing at the House of Representatives on SO4, which would have allowed the importation of 300,000 tons of sugar that Malacañang said was illegal, as it was not approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the concurrent Agriculture Secretary.
Also recommended to face charges by the Senate blue ribbon panel were former Sugar Board members Roland Beltran and Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr.
In his statement following the release of the Blue Ribbon report, Serafica said it was “unfortunate” that the evidence they presented “were not given weight.”
“In a way, we expected this outcome, but we kept our faith in the process,” he said.
Sebastian, who was representing Mr. Marcos on the sugar board as the chief of staff of the Agriculture Secretary, refused to comment further, saying he has yet to receive a copy of the Senate report.
San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes, who chairs the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, said her panel is also likely to recommend charges related to the SO4 controversy.
“Oh yes, there is. There will be a recommendation. It will come out next week,” she said, as the House committee terminated its investigation on Thursday.