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SBMA exec in rice smuggling attempt suspended

/ 05:29 AM August 17, 2012

SUBIC BAY FREE-PORT—A Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) official has been suspended for using the name of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to allegedly pressure a colleague to help process the release of a shipment of Indian rice despite the lack of documents.

Stefani Saño, SBMA senior deputy administrator for business development, is facing charges for his alleged involvement in the attempt to smuggle P450-million worth of Indian rice, SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said on Wednesday.

Garcia said Saño’s testimony in the ongoing Senate hearings on the rice smuggling attempt “has very much implicated him.”

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“Every Senate hearing, there’s a bombshell. In the last Senate hearing, it was Saño’s admission that he [pressured SBMA senior deputy administrator for seaport operations Redentor] Tuazon to issue a certification. We are now issuing a formal charge against him, and his preventive suspension is effective today,” said Garcia.

Earlier, Saño and Tuazon went on leave to make way for the SBMA investigation of the case.

Garcia said the SBMA’s governance committee was about to complete its investigation, noting that even Tuazon would be charged and suspended.

He said the administrative charges against Saño and Tuazon would involve dishonesty and “working against the best interest of SBMA.”

When sought for comment on his suspension and charges against him, Saño said: “With due respect, I would await the result of the Senate hearings.”

Garcia said the issue has given him the opportunity to reform the SBMA. “This has been a golden opportunity for us to clean up SBMA. As you know, I only inherited this team [from previous SBMA administrations],” he said. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Global Nation, Juan Ponce Enrile, Philippines, rice smuggling, SBMA, Stefani Saño
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