Customs files rice smuggling charges vs 31 people-A A +A
Thursday, January 10, 2013
THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed Thursday charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 31 officers of four cooperatives in Central Luzon for alleged rice smuggling.
BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the cooperatives of these 31 people acted as consignees to smuggle into the country 78,000 bags of rice from Vietnam worth P93.6 million through the Port of Legazpi City in the Bicol Regio.
According to Biazon, the illegal rice shipment from Vietnam, which all arrived at the Bicol port in the same boat on September 2, 2012, did not have the required import permits in violation of Sections 101 and 3601 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).
The number of bags of rice that were illegally bought into the country by the four cooperatives were all beyond their imported rice quota allocation balances, he said.
“We will never allow any multi-purpose cooperative to exploit their rice importation allocation privileges for illegal activities. We will carefully review the entries of all rice importations to ensure that these are covered with the required permits and importation quota allocations are not violated,” Biazon said.
“While we support the cause of cooperatives, we will, however, strictly enforce the country’s customs rules and laws,” he added.
Charged were Pampanga based Kapatirang Takusa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Directors Orlando Manimbot, Juanito Mangilit, Joseph Guevarra, Alfredo Manimbo, Tommy Navarro, Jaime Bitangcol and Efren Bulaon. The Kapatiran was the consignee for 21,000 bags of rice worth P25.2 million. Aside from not having the required import permit, the Kapatiran only had a rice quota allocation balance of 19,000 bags of rice at the time of importation.
The officers of Pampanga based Ugnayan Magbubukid ng San Isidro Cooperative Emily Alabado, Christopher Hernandez, Editha Alabado, Teresita Manlastas, Arly Guevarra, Luciano Alabado and Santiago Francisco for their part, were charged for being the consignee, as officers of the cooperative, of another 21,000 bags of the hot rice from Vietnam worth P25.2 million when their imported rice allocation quota’s balance at that time was only good for 6,800 bags of rice.
On the other hand, the officers of Bulacan based Malampampang Concerned Citizens Multi-Purpose Cooperative Cipriano Evangelista, Ernesto Gonzales, Guillermo Marcelo, Edgardo Evangelista, Henry Ochoco, Milagros Pelayo, Nelson Evangelista, Arden Evangelista and Jessie De la Cruz were also charged for being the officers of the consignee cooperative for 18,000 bags of the illegally imported rice from Vietnam worth P21.6 million, even if the coop only had a rice importation quota allocation balance of only 6,900 bags.
Samahang Magsasaka Kapampangan at Katagalogan Multi-Purpose Cooperative officers Maximo Hernancez, John Ray Retobado, Ponciano Hernandez, Dominador Lalu, Felipe Mangilit, Michael Manliclic and Danilo Santos were all charged as well for their cooperative’s being consignee to 18,000 bags of smuggled rice from Vietnam amounting to P21.6 million.
The cooperative’s rice importation quota allocation balance at the time of importation was only for 14,000 bags of rice.
Thursday's filing of charges brings to 122 the number of cases filed by the BOC against smugglers since Biazon’s appointment as Customs chief. (SDR/Sunnex)