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Unmask NFA exec blocking documents – Laurel

MANILA, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. is trying to unmask the official of the National Food Authority (NFA) who was allegedly blocking the release of documents to the Office of the Ombudsman.

During the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing yesterday, Department of Agriculture (DA) spokesman Arnel de Mesa said that Laurel has directed NFA officer-in-charge Larry Lacson to cooperate with the ombudsman.

On Thursday, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said there was an alleged attempt to suppress some documents that would be relevant in the ongoing investigation on the alleged anomalous sale of NFA rice to some traders.

Martires said his “asset” in the NFA told him that a certain official of the agency gave an instruction not to release documents to ombudsman investigators.

De Mesa gave assurance that Laurel has directed Lacson to ensure that all documents will be given to the ombudsman.

At the same time, De Mesa denied that there were efforts to conceal documents from the ombudsman.

For his part, Lacson said that as far as his office is concerned, he was not aware of any pending requests from the ombudsman.

However, he is willing to sit down with Martires so they can provide what they need.

 “I talked to the Office of the Ombudsman just now, they will provide me with the list of what they need and we will comply immediately,” Lacson added.

Lacson is a former director of the Bureau of Plant Industry, an attached agency of the DA.