Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Senator Francis Tolentino requested from then Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica a sugar supply inventory indicating the supplies of sugar in the warehouses in the Philippines and those previously released.
This request was prompted by Tolentino to determine the question of whether there was indeed the existence of a sugar shortage which necessitated the SRA’s issuance of the controversial Sugar Order (SO) No. 4.
Serafica then responded that said sugar supply inventory is unavailable for presentation in the second hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the sugar importation fiasco.
“Mr. Serafica, ilang araw na tayo naghe-hearing. You have yet to provide an inventory list of all the sugar within and [those] release[d] from warehouses.”
“Mr. Serafica, ilang araw na tayo naghe-hearing. You have yet to provide an inventory list of all the sugar within and [those] release[d] from warehouses,” Tolentino said.
“How can you create a sugar import plan and sugar market analysis without any data on the sugar supply in the form of a sugar inventory?”
The legislator then questioned how a sugar import plan and sugar market analysis can be created without any data on the sugar supply in the form of a sugar inventory.
This question was in line with the lawmaker’s investigation roadmap presented at the start of the hearing.
According to the senator, the remaining issues yet to be resolved before the Committee are as follows:
(1) whether or not there was a genuine sugar shortage to justify the issuance of SO No. 4;
(2) whether or not sugar industry groups were consulted prior to issuance of SO No. 4;
(3) whether or not sugar industry personalities were misled to believe that the President wants SO No. 4 to be issued to address a national emergency;
(4) whether or not Usec. Sebastian and the other members of the SRA Board had the legal authority to issue SO No. 4;
(5) whether or not Usec. Sebastian was authorized to sign SO No. 4 pursuant to the July 15 Executive Secretary Memorandum; and
(6) whether or not there was a valid corporate action on the part of the SRA.