THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday filed smuggling charges before the Department of Justice against the owners and brokers of a multi-purpose cooperative and a grains trading firm for illegal importation of rice worth more than P130 million.
Customs Commissioner Alberto Lia said the cases against Malingas Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MMPC) and RMJR Grains Center Corp. stemmed from their importation of more than 4,200 metric tons of rice, which were found to be grossly misdeclared in quantity and in weight in violation of the Tariff and Customs Code and the Revised Penal Code.
Malingas and RMJR’s importation of 4,206 metric tons exceeded their maximum allowable import volume of 3,562 metric tons as indicated in the import permits or an excess of 644 metric tons, which is equivalent to 644,000 kilos or 12,800 sacks.
“We are committed to protect the interest of our local farmers and no one can stop the Bureau of Customs from doing its job, no matter who gets the axe for doing illegal deals in the BOC,” Lina said.
“We shall aggressively pursue this case, as well as the other cases we have already filed, if only to protect the interest of the government and the economy,” he added.
Lina said he is hoping that the Justice department would expedite resolution of smuggling cases against suspected smugglers to send a strong message that the BoC is really serious in the fight against smuggling.
The Malingas respondents were identified as Victoria Sarmiento Ferrer, Manuel Palanca, Guadlupe Briocarles, Roderick Cabanilla, Josepine Rosario,Wilfredo Joves and Floriano Salinas, all officials of the MMPC, and Customs broker Philip Calcetas.
On the RMJR side, charged were Romeo Mariano Jr., president; Luis Mariano, corporate secretary; and Ana Maria Carlos, Carlos Carlo, and Romeo Mariano, directors; and Ariel Hermogenes, Customs broker.