IT’S kind of a relief that elsewhere in the government we find genuine public servants who indefatigably go about their sworn duties.
After relentless work of building a strong case, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to file graft and other charges against Lilia M. Cruz, alias Leah Cruz, also known as
the “Bawang Queen.”
On orders of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, NBI Director Virgilio Mendez and his top investigators will file the complaint against Cruz, along with former officials of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and a number of others.
Mendez said Cruz heads the bawang or garlic cartel that has manipulated garlic prices by hoarding and manipulating the supply or flow of garlic in the market particularly in Metro Manila during the past few years.
According to Mendez, the cartel controlled up to 75 percent of the garlic importation into the country, using various pseudo farmers’ cooperatives in securing Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) from her cohorts at the BPI.
Reports have it that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala may yet figure again in this case in the wake of allegations that Cruz’ illegal business thrived in unholy alliance with Alcala’s administration.
This is not the first time that Alcala’s name was dragged in a questionable transaction within his department. He was, on several occasions, mentioned on the Prioirty Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam inquiry by the Senate.
Alcala is said to have allowed the distribution of the “pork barrels” of the lawmakers to the fictitious foundations of Janet Lim-Napoles. Surprisingly, Napoles and three senators are in jail but Alcala continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the President.
Oh well, leave no stone unturned. Talupan ang dapat talupan. Either Alcala should be booted out of DA or put behind bars.
Lilybeth Valenzuela, President of the Vegeatables Importers and Exporters Association and the primary complainant of the case, said Alcala should be charged too by the NBI for allowing Barron to issue import permits only to Cruz.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption President Dante Jimenez said they have already filed charges of corruption before the Ombudsman against Alcala and his men including Leah Cruz in 2014 for the same case.
Kudos to DOJ and NBI for another breakthrough case against one of the cartels that have operated with impunity.