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Solon says 2 persons cited in contempt at House onion probe have surfaced

Two resource persons who were cited in contempt for alleged non-cooperation in the investigation into the spike in onion prices have turned themselves in to the House of Representatives, a lawmaker leading the probe said Tuesday.

Argo Trading president and general manager Efren Zoleta Jr. and legal counsel Jan Ryan Cruz "voluntarily presented themselves" to House Sergeant-at-Arms Napoleon Taas on Monday afternoon, according to Quezon Representative Mark Enverga in a statement.

Enverga, who chairs the House food and agriculture panel that is conducting the investigation, issued the statement  ahead of Tuesday's deliberations on the appeal to lift the contempt orders issued to Zoleta, Cruz and Argo Trading operations manager John Patrick Sevilla.

Sevilla has been in detention in the House of Representatives since March 7 when he, Zoleta and Cruz were cited in contempt by the committee for their alleged failure to submit the inventory of the onions stored in their facility in 2022.

The committee voted to cite the three in contempt and ordered them detained for 10 days.

Speaker Martin Romualdez earlier signed an arrest order for Zoleta and Cruz after they failed to attend the March 7 committee hearing.

"I take this opportunity to reiterate the warning of our Speaker: we will not hesitate to use the full powers of the House of Representatives to ferret out who were behind the price manipulation of onion and other agricultural products," Enverga said.

"If need be, we will effect the arrest of those who refuse to cooperate with our investigation," he added. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA Integrated News