22 0 0 2 months ago 4 min to read

House committee promises to identify onion cartel leaders

House Speaker Martin Romualdez announced on Sunday that the House Committee on Agriculture and Food will pick up its investigation into the alleged hoarding of agricultural products, which is thought to have contributed to the increasing prices of onions and other farm products, on Tuesday.

Romualdez pledged to put in jail anyone who lied in front of the panel, which will be presided over by Quezon Representative Mark Enverga.

The dishonest bankers and businessmen operating behind the cartel for onions and vegetables are being exposed by lawmakers.

For refusing to assist with the inquiry, they cited three Argo International Forwarders Inc. officials for contempt and placed them in custody.

According to Enverga, the three gave the panel assurances that they would cooperate and give records that could support onion price manipulation and provide clues as to the identities of the cartel leaders, and the citation for contempt was subsequently withdrawn.

“I cannot emphasize to these resource people enough how important it is to work with the committee. You will all end up in jail if you lie to politicians, Romualdez said.

He claimed that the committee’s goal is to lower onion prices and break up the vegetable cartel.

“We must reduce onion prices and dismantle the cartel as soon as feasible. And I promise that the cartel’s abusive and exploitative members and company owners will be imprisoned. Our constituents urgently require a reduction in the exorbitant pricing of agricultural products, he continued.

He issued a warning that the House panel would not be lenient on anyone who colluded with dishonest dealers, including members of the government, claiming that they were equally responsible for the misery of Filipinos.

Romualdez stated that in order to find the hoarders, he anticipates the assistance of Argo President and General Manager Efren Zoleta Jr., Operations Manager John Patrick Sevilla, and Legal Counsel Jan Ryan Cruz.

“May the committee’s detention of you serve as a lesson. We’ll put you in jail if you don’t tell the truth, he warned.

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