• After barely 3 months, NFA chief quits post


    In office for barely three months, National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Arthur Juan has turned in his irrevocable resignation, citing “failing health conditions.”

    “It is with regret and sadness that we received yesterday afternoon [Thursday] the irrevocable resignation of Mr. Art Juan as National Food Authority Administrator,” Francis Pangilinan, the presidential assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, said in a press statement on Friday.

    Juan, 68, resigned amid a controversy over his alleged extortion attempt on Purefeeds owner Jojo Soliman.

    Pangilinan has maintained that Juan “is innocent of the charges brought against him.”

    “This is a temporary setback in our reform efforts and it will not stop us from pursuing sweeping reforms in the NFA and the rice trade in the country,” he said.

    Juan first asked to resign in August when the controversy over the alleged extortion broke, but Pangilinan talked him into staying on.

    Soliman had accused Juan and his assistant, lawyer Patricia of demanding a total of P15 million in exchange for dropping charges against him and reopening his warehouse which was raided by authorities led by Roxas in July for alleged hoarding.

    Soliman said Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, Pangilinan, and Juan was to get P5 million each.

    Juan denied the allegations, saying that in all his years in the military and the private sector, he had never faced any charges.

    He added he offered to resign out of delicadeza [sense of propriety]and will cooperate with the investigation.

    Juan was appointed last June 24 by President Benigno Aquino 3rd as NFA council member and administrator.

    Before his appointment, Juan was president of Monterey Foods Corporation and then of San Miguel Foods Inc, the food division of San Miguel Corporation. CATHERINE S. VALENTE


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