MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Bureau of Customs filed on Thursday before the Department of Justice a P34-million smuggling case against six officials of a rice cooperative and its customs broker.
Charged were San Carlos Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SACAMUCO) chairperson Marivic Canillo, board members Felipe Gamuyao, Felipe Paas Jr., Aurelio Tome Jr., and Percy Reyes; manager Doris Ortega. and customs broker Marvin Cortez.
The seven respondents face charges of violating Section 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.
In a press conference, BOC Commissioner John Sevilla said they charged the respondents for the unlawful importation of over 28,000 sacks of rice with an estimated market value of P34 million.
”As we vigorously challenge the court cases being filed against us by rice traders, we are committed to prosecuting traders who continue to import rice illegally. These practices are not only unfair to legitimate rice dealers and sellers, but also cause harm to our farmers,” Sevilla said.
Investigation by the BOC showed that SACAMUCO misdeclared both the actual quantity of rice it imported and where these came from.
In its import entries, SACAMUCO declared that the rice, which arrived in 55 twenty-footer container vans from Aug. 27 to Sept. 15, 2013, came from Thailand and that each container van had only 380 sacks of rice.
However, further examination showed that the rice imports actually came from Vietnam and that each container van had as much as 520 sacks of rice. (MNS)