LESS than two months in power, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration faces its first crisis that could dent the public’s confidence in his capability to lead.
At best, the issue reveals a chaotic, amateurish Malacañang bureaucracy — where officials are elbowing each other, as an insider described it in Filipino (nagbabalyahan).
At worst, it points to corruption at the highest levels since the issue, whether to import sugar or not, involves the opposing interests of elite groups — sugar planters who hate imports because they bring their prices down vs food and beverage manufacturers, whose margins increase with lower prices for the sweetener. None of these elites are beyond offering bribes for government to go their way, with their industries set to lose or make billions of pesos depending on the regulatory body’s decision.(more…)