Romualdez to lying resource persons: We’ll send you to jail
March 19, 2023 - Sunday 4:03 PM by GDM Staff
"I cannot stress enough for these resource persons the importance of cooperating with the committee: lie to lawmakers, and you will all find yourselves in jail," House Speaker Martin Romualdez warned as he committed to sending to jail anyone who will tell lies to the House panel in its inquiry resumption on the skyrocketing onion prices and other agricultural products.
Romualdez said lawmakers are working to "unmask the unscrupulous financiers and traders behind the onion and vegetable cartel in its hearings and have demonstrated their resolve by citing in contempt and detaining three officials of Argo International Forwarders Inc. for refusing to cooperate with its investigation."
According to House Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, the citation for contempt was lifted after the three officials assured the panel that "they would cooperate and submit documents that could help establish price manipulation of onion and provide leads to the identity of the cartel’s leaders."
"We need to lower the prices of onions and decimate the cartel the soonest possible time. And I guarantee the imprisonment of those exploitative and abusive individuals and business owners behind the cartel. Our constituents need an immediate reprieve from the high prices of agricultural goods," the Speaker added.
The lawmaker also warned those conspiring with the alleged onion cartel, especially if they are from the government.
"The committee will not spare anyone who helped these unscrupulous individuals, even those from the government. You are equally guilty of causing the suffering of the Filipino people," Romualdez stressed.
Romualdez also echoed various House members’ statements and said he expects the cooperation of Argo President and General Manager Efren Zoleta, Jr., Argo Operations Manager John Patrick Sevilla, and their legal counsel Jan Ryan Cruz in identifying the hoarders.
"Let your detention by the committee be a lesson: if you will not tell us the truth, we will send you to jail," he said.
He noted that "it was only after being cited in contempt and spending some time in detention at the House of Representatives that the Argo officials eventually agreed to help in the committee’s probe on onion hoarding."
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