NBI urges raps vs. six persons, including some government officials, allegedly behind onion price manipulation


THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recommended before the Department of Justice (DOj) the filing of complaint for hoarding and profiteering against six individuals, including government officials allegedly behind the price manipulation of onion last year.

The names of the respondents have been withheld pending evaluation and review of the NBI’s recommendation by the DOJ. 

At a press briefing, DOJ Undersecretary Geronimo Sy said the NBI recommended the filing of complaint against the six individuals who were allegedly behind the supply and procurement of 8,000 bags each containing 25 kilos of onions amounting to P134 million in December 2022.

The onions were allegedly offered to the government at very high price of P537 per kilo by a supplier.

 “This is not the basis for hoarding and profiteering because they claimed there were no stocks available but when it was contracted at P500 plus (per kilo) suddenly there were stocks available. That is profiteering because the farm gate prices of onion or the cost of production was from P8 to P15 but was sold at P537 pesos,” Sy said. 

Sy said there was an apparent connivance with the supplier and some government officials as based on the investigation two of the three firms that participated in the bidding were fictitious. 

“It was very clear that the two supposedly other bidders were fictitious and there was only one effective bidder and this is allowed by the FTI (Food Terminal Inc.),” Sy said.

“There was a delivery actually and the government paid for it. It downloaded funds from the Department of Agriculture to FTI which was used to procure and secure the more than 8,000 bags of onions in December,” Sy explained.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told reporters that more complaints are expected to be filed in the coming days against other individuals involved in onion price manipulation 

 “Other cases will be filed up to the point of economic sabotage once we’re done with case build-up and data evaluation,” Remulla said.

“Hopefuly this is just the beginning of the cases to be filed and this is for hoarding and profiteering, for violation of laws committed by those respondents in the complaint filed by the NBI,” he added.

Image credits: Nonoy Lacza