Rice trader files motion to clarify

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


THE Dabawenyo businessman seeking for the release of his P21-million worth of rice filed a motion to clarify whether his rice shipments will be released after settling all of its tax liabilities as stated in the writ of preliminary injunction granted by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16.

Plaintiff Joseph Mangupag Ngo, through his legal counsel Ferdinand Taglucop, filed a motion for clarification dated January 13 to clarify whether the writ of preliminary injunction covers all of the rice shipments in the 15 bills of lading.

Taglucop was compelled to file the motion for clarification as the order of RTC Branch 16 Judge Emmanuel Carpio dated December 13, 2013 did not specify if the writ of preliminary injunction includes all of the 15 bills of lading or only the nine bills of lading, which were already cleared from any tax liability prior to the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction.

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In a hearing at the sala of RTC Branch 16 on January 17, Taglucop told the judge that they have already settled the taxes on the rice shipments stated on all of the bills of lading.

"Wherefore, premises considered it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that an order be issued clarifying the writ of preliminary injunction to the effect that it shall cover not only the shipments covered under the nine bills of lading but also covers all the other rice shipments of the complainant," Taglucop said in the motion.

On the same note, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is about to release the rice shipments of the plaintiff.

BOC commissioner John Sevilla, in an e-mailed statement to Sun.Star Davao, said: "In compliance with a preliminary injunction issued by a Regional Trial Court in Davao City, the Bureau of Customs is releasing shipments of rice without import permits claimed by Mr. Joseph Mangupag Ngo. The shipments consist of 167 containers containing 3.3 tons of rice, and are the subject of nine specific bills of lading which the Davao City Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, under Judge Emmanuel C. Carpio has ordered the Bureau of Customs not to hold."

Sevilla also said that it is against their will to release the rice despite the non-compliance of the plaintiff citing that Ngo is not a National Food Authority (NFA)-licensed rice importer, has no import permit and is not the consignee of the import entries for the rice imports. But BOC, however, can't do anything but to adhere to the court order.

The BOC commissioner also lamented that the continuous importations of rice without import permits will hurt the local rice farmer and traders.

"The uncontrolled entry of rice into the Philippines will have a devastating effect on our farmers. We will continue to vigorously challenge these court orders in the proper courts. In that endeavor, we hope to have the support of farmers, the general public, and the rest of the government," Sevilla added.

But the BOC commissioner has yet to announce the official release date of the rice imports of Ngo as they are awaiting Carpio's order on the motion of clarification. (RPSA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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