THE National Food Authority (NFA) sought for inclusion in the legal proceedings of the case involving a Dabawenyo businessman seeking for the release of his P21-million worth of rice imports from the custody of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Davao.

The NFA legal affairs department, through its legal counsel Ma. Theresa Villafuerte, filed an urgent motion to appear before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 that handles the case.

Villafuerte asserted that NFA has a legal right to intervene with the case filed by Joseph Mangupag Ngo, who sought for the release of his rice imports from the custody of BOC-Davao, citing it is NFA that regulates the importation of rice and food products.

The NFA then prayed that the court allow them to intervene as defendant alongside BOC-Davao and to direct the furnishing of legal documents to them if granted that they will be allowed to get involved with the case.

But while RTC Branch 11 Judge Emmanuel Carpio is yet to issue an order in response to their appeal, the judge has already set a hearing on Monday to determine whether a permanent injunction will be granted in favor of Ngo for the release of the rice shipment.

Carpio, in an order dated December 12 last year, ordered BOC to refrain from issuing seizures and hold orders on Ngo's rice shipment. This after he approved the writ of preliminary injunction filed by Ngo after the latter insisted that the power of NFA to impose quantitative restrictions on rice importations was already invalidated since the exemption of the Philippines from the guidelines of the World Trade Organization (WTO) expired last June 30, 2012.

The Philippines has requested for the extension of the exemption from the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade of WTO until 2017 yet the latter has not made any decisions so far.