FORMAL charges have been filed against five officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and three private individuals in connection with a foiled attempt to smuggle into the country 14 brand new luxury vehicles worth P145 million.
“The Bureau is intent on eradicating smuggling and cleaning our slate from graft and corruption. Anyone caught red – handed will not be tolerated,” Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said on Friday.
He identified the five customs personnel as Acting Assessor Eloisa Suarez, Maricel Maguiat, Noralyn Asaria, Araceli Jasa and Benjamin Manalo Jr., all assigned at the Port of Batangas.
The five, Lina claimed, blindly processed the declaration on the import entries for the 14 luxury vehicles despite discrepancies.
Also charged were Rolando Cuevas and Mermelinda dela Cruz, owner/proprietor and manager, respectively, of Monacat Trading and the firm’s broker Flavano dela Cruz for knowing, intentionally and fraudulently misdeclaring and grossly underdeclaring the true and correct value of the luxury vehicles.
Cuevas and company violated Sections 3601 and 3602 in relation to Sections 2503 and 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code Philippines, as amended, and Article 172 or Falsification of the Revised Penal Code.
Records show that the luxury vehicle arrived at the Port of Batangas last July in two batches from United Arab Emirates, Hongkong and Japan.
The all brand new car shipment includes a Ferrari 458 Speciale, 2015 Mercedez Benz G63 AMG, McLaren MP4-12C OR 650S, Toyota Land Cruiser GXR Bullet Proof, and 2015 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG.
The cars have an approximate aggregate value of $1,123,346.30. They were grossly undervalued at only $424,103.20.