At least five gov’t officials are alleged protectors of agri products smugglers — NICA official

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NATIONAL Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Directror Edsel Batalla said that there are at least five government officials who are alleged protectors of an estimated 20 smugglers of agricultural products.

However, during the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole, Batalla declined to name the alleged protectors since there is still a validation process and he still needed to ask his superiors for approval to share the names of the officials to the senators.

However, the senators reiterated to the NICA official that there should already be a sense of urgency or fast track the validation process and filing of charges because the issue involves the country’s food security, which is as important as the security and economy of the country.

The investigation and the filing of charges against the protectors should also be hurried to prevent these officials from getting any votes if in case they are running for an elective position in the May 9 polls.

Batalla responded that they only recently learned of the information from the Special Task Group on Economic Intelligence and the information they received was very limited that is why they needed to conduct a more intensive investigation.

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