10 Honda Fit cars seized, found to be ‘smuggled’-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
AGENTS of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 seized 10 Honda Fit cars from a car shop in Barangay Basak, Mandaue City.
The vehicles are believed to be smuggled.
NBI 7 Director Antonio Pagatpat said they recovered the imported used vehicles from JJRS Car Mall Wednesday morning.
The car shop owner, Ricardo Sameon, eluded arrest when the NBI agents served the search warrant issued by Mandaue City Executive Judge Teresita Galanida.
“During the service of the search warrant, the people in charge there failed to show to the NBI agents documents that would show that they paid customs taxes and duties,” Pagatpat told reporters.
He said the raid was an offshoot of the request for help by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency about the reported smuggled imported used cars in the region.
The agency sent its request to the Land Transportation Office in Manila, which in turn forwarded the information to NBI 7.
Before the NBI 7 applied for a search warrant, lawyer Pagatpat said they secured a certification from Honda Philippine stating that it does not import Honda Fit units into the country.
“This (Honda Fit) is not locally available in the country,” he said.
Investigation by the NBI 7 showed Sameon owned the vehicles.
During the raid, however, Pagatpat said Sameon did not show up at the car mall.
“Had he been there, our agents could have arrested him,” he told reporters.
The NBI 7 chief said they will file a complaint against Sameon for violation of Section 10 of Presidential Decree 1464 or the Tariff and Customs Code of The Philippines, as amended by Executive Order (EO) 156 before the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor.
EO 156, signed by then President Gloria Arroyo on Dec. 12, 2002, prohibits the importation of all types of used motor vehicles, parts and components to protect the local motor vehicle industry.
Exempted from the order are brand new vehicles of the current year model that have a mileage of less than 200 kilometers, vehicles owned by a returning resident or immigrant, which cannot be sold for at least three years, a vehicle for the use of an official of the diplomatic corps, trucks (except pick-up trucks), buses and special purpose vehicles.
Pagatpat said he has yet to know the statistics on the smuggling of imported cars.
Pagatpat said they will ask the court to transport the seized vehicles to the Bureau of Customs, which are being impounded in the NBI 7 compound.
The NBI 7 has yet to determine the total cost of the seized vehicles, but a Honda Fit is sold in the car malls for P200,000 to P300,000 per unit, depending on the year model and the car accessories installed.
Meanwhile, the NBI 7 also filed criminal charges against two people accused of estafa and violation of Republic Act 8772, or the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000.
The NBI 7 said suspects Jade Catalan and Roger Morre posed as owners of Red Gamefarm and created a Facebook account and sold Game fowls and pullets.
But after receiving the payments for the order through money transfer firms, the purchased items were not delivered.
An entrapment was carried out on the two suspects last Feb. 28. When Morre received P1,000 from a money transfer outlet, an NBI agent arrested him.
Morre said Catalan instructed him to claim the money. A follow-up entrapment led to the arrest of Catalan, who had just received P1,000 from a money courier in Liloan, Cebu.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 08, 2013.