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Fertilizer supplier in Enrile graft case has no license —FPA exec

The supplier of liquid fertilizer in transactions funded by the discretionary or pork barrel fund of then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile from 2004 to 2010 has no license to do business, the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) said Thursday.

FPA officer-in-charge and Executive Director Julieta Lansangan made such testimony for the prosecution during the resumption of the Sandiganbayan trial on the 15 counts of graft case filed against Enrile, his former chief-of-staff Jessica Reyes, businesswoman Janet Napoles, among others in connection with alleged misuse of Enrile’s P200 million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Lansangan, in her judicial affidavit which was adopted as her direct testimony, said that the firm which supplied fertilizers in transactions paid for by Enrile’s PDAF has expired license, and therefore, cannot legally transact with the government or non-government organizations based on Presidential Decree 1144 that created the FPA.

“Under the law, only licensed handlers, importers, area distributors, importers or manufacturers of fertilizer and pesticides can operate. If their license is expired, they are not authorized to distribute any products in the market,” Lansangan, former marketing specialist for the FPA, told the anti-graft court.

Lawyer Rony Garay, the counsel for Napoles, then quizzed Lansangan if a supplier paying penalties for doing business without a valid license would rectify its previous transactions.

“It should not be valid because based on the law, they can only transact business if they have a license,” Lansangan replied.

Garay countered by saying that such pronouncement is merely Lansangan’s opinion since PD 1144 does not explicitly state that penalties cannot rectify previous transactions done without a license.

Lansangan, however, was firm.

“As long as the license is expired, the transaction is invalid,” she said.—LDF, GMA Integrated News