At the Commission on Appointments’ confirmation hearing for DA Sec. William Dar, Sen. Lacson asked policy questions involving problems in the agricultural sector, including possible corruption in the distribution of defective farm equipment. “Without doubt, you are more than qualified and very competent to head this Department,” he told Sec. Dar before asking his questions.
“Apparently there is corruption involved. Without pointing fingers, if some officials of DA distributed equipment to farmers … (the equipment) were defective, with prices ranging from P300,000 to P1 million per unit. My question, ilan ang pulled out? Papa-repair pa ito? Will you run after the supplier?”
“Year in and year out, we will scrutinize the budget, and we hear of equipment gone to waste. Paki-submit sa amin sa January initial report and (ang full report) probably March or April.”
During deliberations for the 2020 budget of the Department of Agriculture, Sen. Lacson urged the agency to pursue criminal charges against those behind the reported distribution of defective farm equipment to farmers.
“It’s really disgusting to see farmers suffering some more on account of not just mismanagement… Obviously may nakinabang dito… I would urge the good DA Sec William Dar not to stop at mere audit, but charges should be filed. Sino ba sa office in charge of procurement ng farm machinery?”
“To prevent a repetition of that anomaly, we should show these people the secretary means business, by going after them. Not just stop at auditing them but charges should be filed against those responsible. Kasi this is plain and simple criminal act. Ako I don’t want to believe di sinasadya yan. Kung 1-2 pwedeng hindi sinasadya pero kung commonplace at sira ang equipment mukhang may kumita nang malaki.”
In an interview after the interpellation, Sen. Lacson also said such actions should be a warning to those implementing the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, so they will ensure proper procurement and distribution of equipment.
“Warning din yan sa pag-implement ng RCEF (Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund) na tingnan nilang mabuti ang procurement at ang idi-distribute na equipment kung tama ba.”