Philippines Ombudsman Lifts Suspension of 72 NFA Personnel Amid Probe

The Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines has lifted the preventive suspension of 72 National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse supervisors implicated in the alleged anomalous sale of rice buffer stocks worth P93.75 million, citing insufficient grounds to believe their continued stay in office would prejudice the investigation, which is ongoing to determine accountability in the controversy." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the lifting of suspension of NFA warehouse supervisors), the main entities involved (Office of the Ombudsman, NFA, and the supervisors), the context of the investigation into the alleged anomalous sale of rice buffer stocks, and the significant action of lifting the suspension. The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the setting of the Philippines and the context of the investigation.

author-image
Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
Philippines Ombudsman Lifts Suspension of 72 NFA Personnel Amid Probe

Philippines Ombudsman Lifts Suspension of 72 NFA Personnel Amid Probe

The Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines has lifted the preventive suspension of 72 National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse supervisors who were implicated in the alleged anomalous sale of rice buffer stocks worth P93.75 million. The suspension was initially ordered on March 1, 2024, as part of an ongoing investigation into the controversial sale.

Why this matters: The outcome of this investigation has significant implications for the Philippine government's efforts to combat corruption and ensure accountability in public institutions. It also raises concerns about the potential impact on the country's food security and the welfare of its citizens.

In a 23-page order dated May 10, 2024, Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires and Special Prosecutor Edilberto G. Sandoval ruled that "there is insufficient ground to believe that their continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation of the case filed against them." The ruling effectively reinstated the 72 supervisors, who were among the 139 NFA officials and employees placed under a six-month preventive suspension.

The investigation centers around the alleged improper sale of 75,000 bags of NFA rice buffer stock, which were sold to two traders without bidding. The rice stocks, bought by the NFA at P23 per kilogram, were sold at P25 a kilogram, resulting in the P93.75 million transaction now under scrutiny.

The Ombudsman's decision to lift the suspension comes after the necessary documents and evidence related to the case have been gathered, making the continued suspension of the personnel no longer necessary. This development follows the earlier lifting of the suspension order for 24 NFA employees due to erroneous data provided by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The reinstated warehouse supervisors are from various regions, including Region III, Region IV-A, Mimaropa, Region V, Region VI, Region VII, Region IX, Region X, Region XII, Region XIII, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The Ombudsman has instructed Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. to implement the reinstatement of the personnel immediately.

With the lifting of the suspension for the 72 warehouse supervisors, only around 40 NFA personnel remain suspended in connection with the alleged irregular sale of rice buffer stocks. The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, as the Ombudsman and the DA's internal panel of investigators work to determine the accountability of those involved in the controversy.

Key Takeaways

  • The Office of the Ombudsman in the Philippines lifts suspension of 72 NFA warehouse supervisors.
  • The supervisors were implicated in the alleged anomalous sale of rice buffer stocks worth P93.75 million.
  • The Ombudsman ruled that there is insufficient ground to believe their continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation.
  • The investigation centers around the improper sale of 75,000 bags of NFA rice buffer stock without bidding.
  • Only around 40 NFA personnel remain suspended in connection with the alleged irregular sale of rice buffer stocks.