The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has ordered the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to place four former officials of the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) under the immigration lookout bulletin after recommending the filing of charges over the botched importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar.
The panel’s report named Leocadio Sebastian Hermenegildo R. Serafica, Atty. Ronald B. Beltran, and Mr. Aurelio Gerardo J. Valderrama Jr. as the former SRA officials who should be placed in the immigration lookout bulletin.
The Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Francis Tolentino said there is “preliminary evidence on record indicating” to file said criminal and administrative raps before the Office of the Ombudsman against Sebastian together with resigned SRA Administrator Hermenegildo Serafica, and board members Atty. Roland Beltran and Aurelio Gerardo Valderrama Jr. in connection with their roles in the irregularities on the supposed issuance of Sugar Order No. 4 that should have allowed the importation of 300,000 metric-tons of raw and refined sugar in the country.
According to the said report, the four officials “have committed the administrative offenses of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, conduct prejudicial best interest of the service, and gross insubordination under the revise rules on administrative cases in the Civil Service.”
Aside from the administrative charges the panel also recommended the filing criminal raps against the above-mentioned current and former officials for violation of Sections 3(a) and 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation on the provision of Republic Act No. 10845 otherwise known as the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
The panel also recommended that Sebastian, Serafica, Beltran, and Valderrama should be charged with ‘Usurpation of Official Functions’ fine and penalize under Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code.
Meanwhile, the committee cleared Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez of any involvement in the sugar importation mess despite Sebastian’s claim that he was authorized by the former to procure necessary stocks on the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) behalf.