Monday, April 25, 2016

Rice smugglers backing Digong?

I was disturbed when I heard that Lito Banayo, the former National Food Authority (NFA) administrator is now handling Mayor Rody Duterte's PR campaign. Inquirer columnist Mon Tulfo wrote several moons ago, how rice smuggling spiked during Banayo's time. Tulfo even narrated how President Aquino reportedly "berated" Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson for recommending Banayo to the post, after reports surfaced that Banayo gave several importation permits to several smugglers who reportedly used these permits in several illicit importations. It was during Banayo's time that prices of rice rose to astronomical heights.

When Banayo's name was linked to big-time Chinoy rice smuggler Bangayan, Banayo reportedly was forced to resign his post and he slid into the night as if nothing happened. The Senate never summoned Banayo.

At the height of the rice smuggling brouhaha, Bangayan's main area of operations, which is Davao, was mentioned. Back then, Mayor Duterte's name surfaced, with some innuendoes given that Bangayan reportedly enjoyed the blessings and "protection" of Digong. To his credit, Digong behemently denied his links with Bangayan, even ordered his "execution" when he steps foot in Davao City.

When the scandal died down, Bangayan was often seen in Davao City, swapping jokes with several other rich traders there. Bangayan is still alive.

I have a challenge to Digong--since he postures himself as a toughie, why not make a sample out of Bangayan? Likewise, why surround yourself with people with graft cases? Banayo should answer all these charges against him and for the interest of justice, should