Philippines: President Marcos Jr. – All sugar isn’t sweet…

This week has been terrible for the President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. who has been caught into a web of scandal. This is involving the second office his holding, which is as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. That Marcos Jr. decided to be both the Head of State and the Minister of Agriculture has already backfired. Because, his now parts of or given powers to someone underneath him, which happens to be the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture.

This week has proven that the President shouldn’t hold two offices at the same time, but would be better to have appointed a trusted a fellow to run it. Since, the mismanagement has come this quickly. It didn’t take longer to a scandal rocking him and now the turns of trying to shift the blames start.

We know today that the Undersecretary has resigned and apologised for the Sugar Order Volume 4, but the investigation is just launched. Therefore, the whole entirety will unfold. The signatures and the whole deal. As it started to it finished. We can really wonder what went down between the release of the Sugar Order Vol. 4 and the Meeting which the President presided over. That was only 8 days between and something has to be said there. They don’t just order 300,000 metric tons of sugar on a whim. There is some sort of planning, before execution and making the measures in the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

That’s why I have made this time of what has dripped out so far…

On the 15th July 2022 Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez on behalf of the President sent out a Memorandum giving Undersecretary of Agriculture, Leocardio S. Sebastian vast power within the Department of Agriculture. Not only the as the Chief of Staff of the Department, but many other powers invested in him. That Memorandum was from the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President and gave the Undersecretary his clear role.

1st August 2022:

NEWS UPDATE: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presides a meeting as the secretary of the Department of Agriculture to discuss the course of actions that the department will take for the sugar and coconut industry” (PTVph, 01.08.2022).

9th August 2022:

The Sugar Regulatory Administration published Sugar Order Volume 4: “Second Sugar Import Program for Crop Year 2021-2022, which states the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar. The sugar was supposed to designated partly half of it to industrial users and the other half to the traders.

11th August 2022:

Undersecretary of Agriculture Leocardio S. Sebastian sends his resignation letter to President Marcos Jr. and apologises for the Sugar Order Volume 4. While also resigning from the post, which he only was appointed to in July.

12th August 2022:

“Heads are going to roll” following an investigation over the supposed “unauthorized” signing of a document directing the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles emphasized on Thursday. “An investigation is ongoing to determine whether any act that would cause the President to lose trust and confidence in his officials can be found or if there is malice or negligence involved. In such a case, if such findings are made, then the only determination left will be how many heads are going to roll,” Cruz-Angeles said in a press briefing. Angeles described as “illegal” Sugar Order No. 4 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, which supposedly directs the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar. “The Chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board is President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. As such, the chairman sets the date of any meetings or convening of the Sugar Regulatory Board and its agenda. No such meeting was authorized by the President or such a resolution likewise, was not authorized,” said Cruz-Angeles” (Alaine Allanigue – ‘Heads to roll over ‘unauthorized’ importation of 300,000 MT of sugar’ 12.08.2022, Philippine Information Agency – PIA).

We don’t know yet the whole scope of this, but the things are twisted together. There are missing pieces and more has to be unleashed on the masses. This here sugar scandal came early. It was only barely month after the Executive Secretary wrote the memorandum giving the Undersecretary vast powers to the Sugar purchase or imports was in order. That is saying something and the President has also signed on the Sugar Order Vol. 4. So, he had to knew and cannot act totally oblivious. The man cannot be that docile and not know what is going on in his department. That is something I have a hard time to believe.

Time will tell, but what we do know is that all sugar isn’t sweet. Certainly Marcos Jr. should be more careful ahead and he should reconsider the ability to both be the head of state and a secretary over a Department. Yes, he wants to do so show that he cares and priorities the sector. However, it would be better to craft legislation and policy changes as President. Than trying to control this, as well, as being the President. That seems to much to ask…

The investigation will now buy everyone time, but the truth will come out. This happen in such a short window and early in the administration. So, it is not like everyone has settled in or gotten used to the new offices. Therefore, this should be brief and quick. As parts of the paperwork is already online. The President can also be implicated, because he sat in the meeting on the 1st August and on the 9th August the Sugar Order Vol. 4 was published. An inquiry will even dig deeper and things tend to connect together. Peace.

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