Sotto names 4 “players” in vegetable smuggling

Four names of alleged “players” in who allegedly shielded were floated during the Senate hearing.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who chairs the Senate committee on the whole hearing into the proliferation of illegal in Philippine marketplaces, stated the names based on information from stakeholders.

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“As earlier mentioned, I have been asked by a number of people. I have received a list of “players” or smugglers who are said to be being protected by some officials…May I know from the National Intelligence Coordinating Authority, the NICA, what information were you able to gather about the following persons and what roles are they allegedly playing in agricultural smuggling?” Sotto asked.

A representative from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency’s Sub-Task Group on Economic Intelligence (STG-EI) has been invited to the Senate panel to check the information regarding the alleged “players” in agricultural smuggling in the country.

According to NICA director Edsel Batalla, the STG-focal EI’s person, the four names indicated by Sotto were included in their list. However, the information is still subject to validation because it is all “raw information” from their operations.

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Sotto names 4 “players” in

“As to the list of players, smuggler that are allegedly enjoying protection from the DA and BOC officials, we do have a list. But again, let me say that this list came from the, was borne out of the operation of the STG-EI and while I may confirm the personality that you mentioned, but still this has to be validated because this are all raw information, including all others that are included in the list,” Batalla said.

“And right now, with all due respect, I cannot divulge other names, because I am not in the position to disclose this classified information, this has to be validated, it might cause undue embarrassment to those who are listed,” the official added.

According to the NICA official, the validation process is “very arduous” because it requires cross-checking with their database.

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“If they don’t have any records on our database, we have to check with the intel community and do some investigation on the ground level, Sir,” Batalla said.

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