President Rodrigo Duterte scolded and threatened a rice trader over the phone for allegedly hoarding rice shipments, Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.
In an interview of radio dwIZ, Sotto recalled an instance when — during a meeting with Duterte — he witnessed the President reprimand a trader, whose identity the senator can no longer recall.
"Pinatawagan niya kay [Bureau of Customs] Commissioner [Isidro] Lapeña tapos inabot sa kanya telepono. Nagalit siya, sabi niya 'pag di lumabas ang mga bigas diyan... parang ganun," Sotto said of Duterte's threat to the trade.
"Na-stock yata [iyong bigas] kaya sinisita niya," the senator added.
Sotto said he and Sen. Gringo Honasan, who was also present at the meeting, found it funny when, at one point of the conversation, Duterte even asked the trader where he lived.
"Natawa ako sa sinabi niya. Saan ka ba nakatira?" Sotto said.
Sotto said Duterte gave the rice trader 72 hours or 3 days to release the rice shipments.
"Ako, hindi ko kapartido pero ganoon talaga dapat may political will. Sabi niya, within 72 hours ilabas mo," Sotto said.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Duterte issued a warning that rice cartels and their protectors will face the "full force" of the state should they continue with their ways.
"To help stabilize rice prices, we also need to address the issue of artificial rice shortage. I now ask all the rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors, you know that I know who you are: stop messing with the people," Duterte said.
"Pres. Duterte ‘threatened’ rice trader over the phone for hoarding rice"- Sotto
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent