SRA leadership still in dispute

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The leadership standoff at the Sugar Regulatory Administration continues as its ranking officials backed Atty. Ignacio Santillana as SRA officer-in-charge.

In a counter manifestation on the status quo on SRA leadership signed by Santillana, SRA deputy administrators Atty. Guillermo Tejida III, Atty. Ronald Rimando, Atty. Brando Noroña, and Marco Soriano, who represents the SRA employees, they acknowledged only “one leadership” at SRA, in the person of Santillana.

In a memorandum dated July 19, Agriculture Undersecretary for Operations and Chief of Staff Leocadio Sebastian advised a “status quo” leadership in the SRA, stressing that Hermenegildo Serafica shall continue to hold office until his successor is appointed.

The SRA deputy administrators said that Santillana is now the OIC-Administrator, based on the strength of the July 4 Joint Memorandum they issued, in compliance with the directive from the Office of the President, under Memorandum Circular (MC) 1.

They said that MC 1 aims to ensure the smooth transition of the previous administration to the newly installed government, adding that the memorandum deemed certain officials separated from service, and the positions held by them, vacant.

Serafica is no exception, they further said, pointing out that the MC applies to all presidential appointees, whose appointments are classified as “co-terminus”.

“Certainly this applies to him,” the SRA deputy administrators said.

They added that being an appointee of the President, the tenure of Serafica ended the moment the tenure of the President, being the appointing authority, ended.

The leadership squabble at SRA comes at a time when the Philippines is grappling with a looming food crisis, particularly high prices of sugar and other food items./GB