Press Release
September 20, 2022


Senator Francis N. Tolentino, chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee today reiterated that the former officials of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), namely, Usec. Leocadio S. Sebastian, Mr. Hermenegildo R. Serafica, Atty. Roland B. Beltran, and Mr. Gerardo J. Valderrama, Jr. who were recommended to be investigated by the proper authorities will have their chance to defend themselves from the charges at the proper forum.

During the period of interpellation, Senator Tolentino answered point by point the questions raised by minority who wanted to clear said SRA officials for their roles on the issuance of Sugar Order No. 4, which was issued without the authority of the President.

"Meron pa rin hong batas na dapat sundin. Kung lahat tayo'y maawa at patatawarin na lang natin lahat, tanggalin na yung mga padlocks sa piitan kung ka-aawaan natin lahat. Kailangan po yung dapat parusahan, parusahan."

While acknowledging that good faith may be a possible defense, the Senator, who is a lawyer by profession, maintains that the facts and evidence before the Committee yields to a different conclusion. As stated in the Committee Report:

"xxx at the time Usec. Sebastian and the members of the Board of SRA signed, uploaded and filed with the Office of the National Registrar, UP Law Center SO No. 4., the August 5, 2022 Memorandum for the President with the subject "RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PRESIDENT," was still pending approval by the President. Moreover, Usec. Sebastian on August 7 even followed up the matter with the Executive Secretary but did not get a reply. Clearly, there was bad faith characterized by undue haste to issue and release the sugar order without waiting for the President or the Executive Secretary to communicate an official approval."

The Senator from Cavite also explained that the purpose of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Report No. 3 is to recommend charges to be filed and reports in factual findings based on evidence submitted and presented to the Committee.

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