The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday filed a smuggling complaint against Silent Royalty Marketing for allegedly importing rice without valid import permits.
It said the smuggling case against the rice importer stemmed from Silent Royalty’s allegedly illegal rice importation of 16,036 metric tons of rice from September to November 2013 through the ports of Manila and Cebu.
The BOC added that the rice that came from Vietnam and Thailand had “a total dutiable value of P245 million and an estimated market value of P648 million.”
The smuggling complaint was filed by BOC officials before the Department of Justice against Marvin Mendoza, owner and proprietor of Silent Royalty Marketing, and the firm’s Customs brokers: Francis Rudolfh Forneste, Kenneth Quial, Elbert Lusterio, Denise Kathryn Rosaroso and John Kevin Cisneros.
Under Section 3601 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and Section 29 of Presidential Decree 4, as amended by PD 1485, “only the NFA [National Food Authority] can import rice and private entities who wish to do the same must secure a permit from the agency.”
“Our laws explicitly state the need for permits from the NFA to import rice. We are following the rule of law. Let this be a lesson to unscrupulous rice traders that the bureau will uphold the welfare of our farmers,” Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said.
The BOC said violation of the Customs law carries a maximum punishment of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of P50,000, while violation of PD 4 is levied a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment and a fine of P8,000.00 per count.
The NFA certified that Silent Royalty Marketing has never secured a single import permit from them.