House Speaker wants NFA chief replaced-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
(UPDATED) House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Wednesday urged Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to replace National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Orlan Calayag amid the controversy involving his citizenship.
Belmonte's call came following the confirmation of the Bureau of Immigration that Calayag is both a Filipino and an American citizen under the country's dual citizenship law -- a violation of the NFA charter, which allows only natural-born Filipinos to head the agency.
"Secretary Alcala should get him (Calayag) replaced," Belmonte said.
Anakpawis party-list Representative Fernando Hicap echoed the sentiment of Belmonte, saying that removing Calayag from his post would be the "logical step" if he refuses to step down from his post.
"On the face of these serious allegations, maybe Administrator Calayag can spare the government and resign instead," Magdalo party-list Representative Francisco Ashley Acedillo added.
Calayag was the chief of staff of Alcala when the latter was still representing the province of Quezon as a member of Congress. It was Alcala who endorsed Calayag to replace Lito Banaya, who resigned in October of last year.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate said Alcala himself should leave his office.
"To borrow the words of President Aquino: Saan kaya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha si Secretary Alcala at pilit na inilagay niya as food czar ang kanyang alaga na isa namang American citizen? If Secretary Alcala can still process the word delicadeza, he should already resign his position now," Zarate said in a statement.
But Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., a lawyer, said Alcala and Calayag should be accorded due process.
"Let us hear the side of Secretary Alcala and Calayag. Thereafter, let us make our conclusion," Barzaga said.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., for his part, said Calayag is qualified to hold his position.
Ochoa issued the statement following the review conducted by his office on Calayag's appointment amid reports that the latter was an American citizen and was not qualified to hold a government post.
"Based on an assessment of the documents provided by Mr. Orlan Calayag, he has met all the qualifications necessary to hold his current position," he said.
Calayag was first appointed as NFA chief in January this year where he served the unexpired term of his predecessor Angelito Banayo who resigned to run for congressman of the First District of Agusan del Norte in 2013 midterm polls. Banayo's unexpired term was until June 30, 2013.
Calayag was reappointed to the post on July 12 this year. (With reports from SDR/Sunnex)