Davao judge mum on grave misconduct case

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Friday, February 7, 2014


A DAVAO CITY judge on Thursday refused to comment on the charges filed against him before the Supreme Court for grave misconduct, and instead justified his decision to issue a writ of preliminary injunction over a petition filed by a local businessman to release rice shipments seized by the Bureau of Customs.

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 presiding Judge Emmanuel Carpio reiterated that in his order dated December 12, 2013, the rice shipments which the claimant Joseph Mangupag Ngo purchased from the Starcraft International Trading Corp. was already cleared from tariff and customs duties.

The claimant insisted he paid the demurrage and storage fees worth P8,335,000 for the 167 containers stated in nine out of the 15 bills of lading being claimed. He also said BOC-Davao did not question the payment for the demurrage and storage.

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The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) filed the complaint against Carpio accusing the latter of grave misconduct and unjust judgment after he issued a writ of preliminary injunction which resulted to the release of Ngo's rice shipments.

Carpio contended that the there is a paramount necessity to issue the writ to prevent the damage on the rice shipments especially that it is a perishable good.

The judge also noted that Ngo has already established his ownership as he has already paid the down payment of the rice shipments to Starcraft International Trading Corp. worth P21,300,000.

The judge also insisted that it is now the question of law since the argument of whether or not there is a necessity for rice importers to secure an import permit from the National Food Authority (NFA) is yet to be determined. This after the exemption from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) expired on June 30, 2013 which allows the country to impose quantitative restrictions on rice imports.

Sinag contested that Carpio went overboard on his jurisdiction as cases involving questioned importations should be handled by the BOC and that the government agency was just acting on its mandate to issue hold orders on questioned shipments.

In addition, Sinag stressed that Ngo should have raised an appeal before the BOC commissioner rather than taking the case to the lower court.

Meanwhile, a staff from RTC Branch 16 who refused to be identified said they are yet to receive a notice of hearing from the higher court.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 07, 2014.

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