Senator Francis Tolentino has postponed the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged smuggled sugar from Thailand because the resource persons on the case are on official foreign trips.
Department of Agriculture (DA) officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary. Domingo Panganiban and other DA officials are currently in China.
Panganiban left the Philippines Monday morning to attend a meeting in Beijing of agriculture officials from different countries.
Tolentino also said that Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who requested for the Senate probe, is in Japan.
Hontiveros tagged Panganiban as the one who issued the order for the importation of sugar despite the absence of a Sugar Order or authorization from the Sugar Regulatory Administration.
The opposition senator described this sugar importation as “state-sponsored sugar smuggling.”
Domingo was also named as behind the government’s favoring three companies to import sugar even without sugar order.
Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, officials of the Bureau of Custom, SRA and members of private companies importing sugar are supposed to attend the Senate hearing.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said Domingo and Hontiveros can attend the hearing virtually.
He noted that Panganiban should attend the next scheduled hearing to avoid doubts he is mere evading the probe. He said there might appear a pattern of this connotation.