Agriculture undersecretary quits over sugar importation mess

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Photo courtesy: Department of Agriculture website

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 12)– An Agriculture official mired in the sugar importation controversy resigned a day after Malacañang ordered an investigation.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles on Friday confirmed the resignation of Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, who is in charge of operations and chief of staff to the Agriculture secretary: President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The probe stemmed from Sugar Order No. 4—signed by Sebastian—which allowed the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar without the express approval of Marcos.

"I sincerely offer my apologies, Your Excellency, for my having approved Sugar Order no.4 on your behalf, and through the authority you have vested upon me. It has become clear that the same was not in keeping with your administration's desired direction for the sugar industry," Sebastian said in his one-page letter dated Aug. 11.

"I take accountability and responsibility for its consequences," he added.

In her briefing on Thursday, Angeles said the order was "illegal," and Sebastian was not authorized to sign it.

The President himself had rejected the importation.