The outgoing Senate chief has defended the list of alleged smugglers of agricultural goods and their protectors provided under the chamber’s committee of the whole report, after the government’s intelligence arm said it did not match with their list.
“I will release it all. I didn’t want to but if they tell me that the list that reached me is different, that’s different,” he said in Filipino during an interview with DZBB Super Radyo on Wednesday.
“Just say you made a mistake, half of the names there are wrong, but don’t say that the list I submitted to the comrep is different,” he added.
This comes after the National Intelligence Coordination Agency (NICA) released a statement saying the list did not come from them.
“In fact, (if you will look at the) committee of the whole report, there was no mention that it came from NICA,” agency director Edsel T. Batalla said.
“We do have our own list, but it is different from the one that was published by the committee,” he added, citing one of the accused mayors.
The 63-page committee of the whole report, filed on June 1, named officials from the Agriculture department, Customs bureau, and local governments as well as private individuals.
The report indicated that around P667.5 million worth of agri-fishery products were “technically smuggled” into the country from 2019 to 2022.
Mr. Sotto said he had already sent the chamber’s full report to the Ombudsman for possible prosecution of those involved in the smuggling activities. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan