Piñol cleared in sugar order

December 3, 2019
Genshen Espedido (Business World) | https://bit.ly/2sIszds

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman has dismissed a criminal and administrative complaint against former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol and several officials of the Sugar Regulatory Administration for allowing advanced sugar exports to the US.

The Ombudsman found no evidence of bad faith or partiality when the officials issued the order.

Antonio Steven L. Chan of the Central Azucarera De Bais, Inc. earlier alleged that Sugar Order 4 “was merely used to favor only three traders at the expense of the rest of the farmers and millers.”

The order allowed the early shipment of Philippine sugar to the US to ease the pressure of high sugar inventory and stabilize prices in the country.

Mr. Chan had argued that the officials had no proof of a local sugar oversupply and the need to complete the US sugar quota.

The Ombudsman found that the sugar order had been approved by the Sugar Board during a couple of meetings in 2017.

“Due deference must be given to the decision of administrative agencies in the exercise of their discretion and the complainant should not be allowed to substitute his own judgment with that of the officials of the SRA who have the special knowledge, skills, and competence on matters within its jurisdiction,” according to the resolution.