Press Release
September 6, 2022

Interjection of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano at the hearing regarding the
"Fiasco Behind Sugar Order No. 4"

September 6, 2022

I agree with you that Mr. Serafica said it, then completely denied it, and then clarified it. So I'm with the chairman when you are asking him, is he lying. Having said that, the minority leader raised a good point about not only miscommunication, but is there misinformation in this committee?

So to give clarity, I just have one question. When this issue broke out, just to give the context, Usec. Sebastian's signature for the president, and when this came out sa media, if I'm not mistaken Usec. Sebastian said that to spare the president from further embarassment, he will resign. And then Malacañang came out saying that he is no longer the Usec. And when I questioned him, because you do not sign for the president, but instead you sign by authority of the president. You only sign for the president when there are specific instructions na ipirma mo na ako yan. So he pointed to a memorandum order, or whatever the nomenclature of that order, basically DA has given him powers, basically para siyang acting secretary in the absence of, or unless the president reverses it.

But recently, lumabas na hindi pa pala siya fired o hindi pa siya resigned, siya daw po ay suspended lang. Which is no issue at all, if there were no allegations that there is someone behind using the president's name. But the records are complete with testimony that certain people in the SRA were telling the stakeholders that eto ang gusto ni Presidente. So that comes into play, yung pumirma ka na mali, na in good faith na yun ang proseso, you should not be punished for that if it isn't per se a bad decision. But in context of making it appear na yan ang gusto ni Presidente, ibang usapan na yan. That's an allegation of being part of the conspiracy. So given that context, only one question. Me. Executive Secretary, magandang hapon po. Ang question ko po, is he fired or not? And if he's not, why is he not fired when he signed for the president, and after all your testimony, it's very clear that the president did not intend to allow that order?

So that's why ang dami tuloy lumalabas na usap-usapan ngayon na pinoprotektahan si Usec. Sebastian. It may be unfair, but that precisely is the question: is he fired or not, or is he resigned or not? And if he is still Usec just under preventive suspension, is that the government we're going to have? That anyone who signs for the president will just get a slap on the wrist?


Sorry Mr. Chairman, I did not mean to interrupt, it's just that online I do not know when I am interrupting you or not, so I apologize for that.

I agree with the executive secretary na kapag CESO, or meaning career, unlike political appointees that you could just fire them, but to put context dun sa sagot ng deputy executive secretary for legal, when it's for cause, you can also immediately fire career officials. President Duterte fired several career officials, because the point here is, if you would look at the privilege speech of the Senate President, may kikita ng daan-daang milyon kung matutuloy ito. And it was the signature of the usec who was given the authority to make decisions not to sign for the president. So the mere fact that someone signs for the president is enough grounds to fire him.

Secondly, anong sagot niya, I refer to the records, but something like mali yung akala niya or whatever, akala niya yun ang gusto ng presidente. If the whole sugar industry will suffer, and people cannot buy sugar because it's too expensive already, I don't know kung ano pa ang hinihintay natin to fire someone who did something like that?

So I just want to put that on the record Mr. President and Mr. Chairman, because it's not only a question of legal -- it's also a moral question. Will you allow undersecretaries to do that? Because we're just beginning this administration, and we're all trying to help, whether administration or opposition, dahil grabe na yung pinagdadaanan ng ating mga kababayan: tuloy-tuloy ang COVID, napakamahal ng presyo ng mga bilihin, etong sugar. Marami pa tayong aasikasuhin dito.

So for me, Mr. Executive Secretary, I thank you for your anwer, it was a straight legal answer, but please look into this, because whatever you do will set an example for the next six years. And if we're going to say, well kailangan muna imbestigahan ng legal, and we're not going to have a firm handling of this usec, unless nga -- which is the speculation ng iba -- e meron nang nasa likod niya na mataas na pumoprotekta sa kanya kaya hindi maalis. So hindi po ito tsismis, I'm telling you face to face -- except via BlueJeans sa Senate Blue Ribbon Committee -- that these are what, eto ang mga pinaguusapan, whether ng mga senador o mga taonsa kalye, na bakit ang lalakas ng mga ito ano?

So can you imagine if other usecs will start signing for the president ha, hindi by the authority of the president. So I cannot overemphasize this Mr. Chairman, so I apologize 'no, but that's the question there, and I will accept yung legal. But this isn't a legal question, it's a question of how this administration is going to treat government officials who use the president's name and cause severe damage to our people. Thank you Mr. Chair.

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