Palace on Rodriguez’s failure to appear at Senate inquiry: He attended Cabinet meeting

MANILA, Philippines — Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez attended a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning which is why he was unable to take part in the Senate Blue Ribbon investigation into the sugar import boondoggle, said Tuesday Malacanang.

Publicist Trixie Cruz-Angeles said she assumed Rodriguez would explain her absence from the inquest.

“May po kami Cabinet meeting. [But, of course,] binibigyan natin ng napakataas na respects an equal branch so I guess I am not explaining that I am executive secretary,” she said during a briefing at the palace.

(We had a Cabinet meeting. But, of course, we have great respect for an equal branch of government, so I assume Rodriguez will provide an explanation.)

Senator Risa Hontiveros was disappointed that Rodriguez was not present when the Senate Blue Ribbon continued its investigation into the alleged sugar import fiasco.

She said it was “regrettable” that Rodriguez was unable to attend the Cabinet meeting, as senators were unable to question him further at the final hearing as he left immediately.

LILY: Hontiveros: Rodriguez’s no-show at Senate sugar import inquiry ‘regrettable’

Senate Blue Ribbon Chairman Francis Tolentino said the committee would send Rodriguez another invitation to attend the next hearing.

During proceedings last week, Hontiveros raised several questions about Rodriguez’s role in issuing the controversial Sugar Order No. 4 (SO4), which was supposed to authorize the import of 300,000 MT of sugar.

She asked about a memorandum signed by the executive secretary that would have granted suspended agriculture undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian the authority to sign said OS4.

LILY: Resignation not yet accepted but director of agriculture on preventive suspension


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Norman D. Briggs