MALACAÑANG on Friday announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will reopen its investigation on the reported existence of a cartel that has been smuggling rice for years.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima will meet with National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials on Friday to discuss how to pick up from previous congressional investigations where the alleged members of the cartel had been identified.
“I understand that the Senate Committee has forwarded the committee report to the NBI and I had occasion to ask Secretary de Lima about the status of the investigation,” Valte said.
“The case was temporarily closed because the NBI at the time of the forwarding of the committee report despite diligent efforts was unable to unveil the identity and the whereabouts of a certain David Tan and a certain Danny Ngo,” she said.
At least one lawmaker, Sen. Ralph Recto was disappointed by the NBI’s failure to act on a Senate panel recommendation to prosecute Tan, Ngo and other identified “players.”
“The Secretary of Justice will be meeting with the NBI team today and will also direct them to reopen the probe,” Valte said.
She said “no one among the members of the alleged cooperatives were willing to give testimony, or at least, to cooperate to unveil the identities.”
Valte said that according to the NBI, Tan could not be positively identified despite thorough checks made on everyone with that name.
Valte said de Lima will discuss with the NBI “ways on how to move, first, to reopen the investigation and, second, on ways on how to move the investigation forward in order to achieve significant results.”
“The Secretary of Justice also mentioned to us that she is willing to either reorganize the team that is handling the investigation or to enhance the team composition,” she added.