Board Member Ronaldo Pader, joined by Van Cadungon, committee chair on Agriculture, sponsored the resolution declaring Bernad persona non grata in North Cotabato, after mayors Efren Piñol and Joselito Piñol of Magpet and M’lang respectively discovered the sale of NFA rice to traders in North Cotabato’s neighboring provinces.
“This act is a betrayal not only for the people of North Cotabato but for us legislators,” Cadungon said during the SP radio program aired over dxND Radio for Peace on Wednesday.
Board Member Reynaldo Pagal also passed a resolution authorizing North Cotabato Governor Jesus Sacdalan to press criminal and administrative charges against Bernad.
Pagal said Bernad should be sanctioned for betrayal and intimidating members of the Grains Retailers Confederation (GRECON) in the province for unscrupulous releases of NFA rice to other retailers.
During the Question Hour of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, some members of the GRECON admitted that Bernad intimidated them into signing their passbooks for rice releases.
Board Member Pagal quoted GRECON secretary general Sheila Estrada as saying Bernad told her “Ako’y mag-buot kay ako ang manager” (I’ll decide because I’m the manager) when they refused to sign the documents.
“Bernad deprived the people of North Cotabato from availing cheap NFA rice by allowing other traders outside the province import our cheaper rice,” Pagal said.
NFA regional manager Rogelio Macutay admitted there are irregularities in terms of rice releases in North Cotabato.
Appearing before the SP on Tuesday, Macutay said only 50 sacks of NFA rice are allowed to be released per week to accredited rice traders all over the province.
Macutay said upon learning the news he immediately informed the NFA administrator to relieve Bernad as manager in North Cotabato and detailed him to Western Mindanao.
“North Cotabato vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol summoned Bernad to appear before the SP regular session on Tuesday but the latter did not show up.
The vice governor accused Bernad of “lying” in his testimony during his first appearance in the previous session of the SP.
Bernad when asked to explain the massive rice releases, told SP members that GRECON members availed of the releases.
But Toto Bacus, the provincial GRECON president denied receiving the 17, 500 NFA rice from Bernad.
Piñol said Bernad lied and needs to explain and apologize before the SP and to the people of North Cotabato.
Bernad could not be reached for comment. (MindaNews)