Paner: The President was ‘misinformed’ about SRA
By Paulo Loreto Lim
Following her resignation and the subsequent appointment of Ormoc City sugar planter Hermenegildo Serafica as administrator for the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), former agency chief, Atty. Anna Rosario Paner, recently faced the press in an attempt to clarify suspected anomalies within the agency.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte named SRA among three agencies he believed to be corrupt, noting one of the agencies had hired consultants who were paid P200,000 a month.
Paner responded to the claim by explaining it was the consultancy fee for the implementation of a Disaster Risk Reduction Management Program (DRRMP), which she says, upon assuming the position, the agency was without one.
“The fee for the lead consultant, for the period of 12 months, was supposed to be P1.2 million,” she stated.
After the consultant, who remains unnamed, said implementation would take about a year and a half, Paner explained, “I insisted it be done in six months.”
“Instead of the P1.2 million being spread over one year, it was spread over six months,” she added.
The former SRA chief went on to justify the amount by saying this individual previously worked as an executive director under the Department of National Defense and “finished a course in disaster law in Italy.”
“I’m sure you get the point,” Paner asserted.
She also noted, payment was only made “after certain deliverables [were] provided to SRA.”
Following the shake-up at the agency, General Alliance of Workers Association (GAWA) Secretary-General Wennie Sancho defended Paner, claiming her resignation was the result of a conspiracy hatched by Serafica.
Paner fed into the claims by saying her critics within the agency were constantly seeking out her “weaknesses.” She also stated, after her oath-taking for the position, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol supposedly said to her, “You are not my choice.”
She went on to explain her reasoning for speaking out was because of her belief the president was “misinformed” regarding her consultancy deal.
Paner quoted an article where it claimed Serafica and Atty. Rolly Beltran exposed an “anomalous contract,” however, she noted, both were present when the DRRMP proposal was brought before the SRA board./PLL, WDJ