MANILA (Mabuhay) – Criminal charges were formally filed with the Department of Justice against rice trader Davidson Bangayan for allegedly rigging the National Food Authority’s rice importation program.
Bangayan, who’s allegedly the same person as notorious rice smuggler David Tan, was charged with violation of the Government Procurement Reform Act for bid-fixing.
He was also charged with violation of Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code, penalizing monopolies and restraint of trade.
Bangayan was also charged separately for using a fictitious name or concealing true identity in violation of Article 178 of the RPC and violation of Commonwealth Act No. 142 as amended by Republic Act 6085.
“Upon investigation, the NBI discovered a scheme whereby certain rice traders/importers were able to corner the National Food Authority’s rice import allocations through the use of farmers’ organizations/cooperatives and single proprietorships as dummies in the NFA bidding for rice Import Allocation under the Private Sector-Financed importation thru the NFA Tax Expenditure Subsidy,” said the NBI in its complaint.
The NBI said the rice traders and importers pooled the bidders into groups and financed their individual bids for NFA rice allocations. In exchange, the bidders were given a small percentage share of a certain amount per sack of rice they were allowed to import.
“This scheme, in turn, allowed these rice traders/importers to corner the rice import allocations that were put up for bidding by the NFA, even if they were not licensed by the NFA to engage in rice importation or bidding,” the NBI said.
Charged along with Bangayan were Judilyne Lim, Elizabeth Faustino, Eleanor Rodriguez, and Leah Echeveria, who were the owners of the single proprietorships and representatives and officers of the farmers’ cooperatives and organizations. (MNS)