THE embattled chief of the Bureau of Customs’ (BoC) Risk Management Office (RMO) broke his silence amid allegations that his office facilitated the entry of 605 kilos of the illegal drug shabu with a street value of P6.4 billion.
Larribert Hilario, a lawyer and the acting chief of the RMO, explained on Monday that his office does not determine the parameters under which incoming shipment is to be granted immediate clearance (green), the importer is required to submit additional documents (yellow) or the shipment is subjected to complete inspection (red).
“The present Asycuda (Automated System for Customs Data) system solely processes data without any human intervention and independently selects which shipment will be processed through green, yellow or red,” Hilario told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview.
He said the Asycuda system is secured in an area maintained by the Management and Information on System Technology Group (MISTG).
Hilario pointed out that the RMO’s function, among others, is to maintain database of information from BoC offices and profile of stakeholders.
The super green lane (SGL), where the shabu shipment passed through, is for listed companies accredited by the SGL Committee and which belong to the top 1,000 corporations in terms of duties and taxes paid.
Hilario sad the SGL is not just actually limited to top corporations or even if the shipment came from China.
“While the subject importation may have originated from China, it is not, however, conclusive that this will be tagged Red for it to be coursed through manual or x-ray examination since the ‘operating system’ or computer program randomly selects which shipment will be processed through Red, Yellow, Green and Blue channels depending on the declarations made during entry lodgements in the e2m (electronic-to-mobile) system,” he added.
Hilario noted that the current system limits to “not more than 20 percent” of the total entries filed for a given period the number of shipments to be coursed through Red channel in compliance with WCO (World Customs Organizations) guidelines and to avert port congestion and expedite releasing of cargos.
In the case of the shabu shipment, he said, the consignee, EMT Trading, declared it as general merchandise and its content was certified by China’s Customs.
As such, according to Hilario, “these articles were not imposable with Customs duties, as such do not fall under the “sensitive list” or “high risk” in the existing Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACTFA).
The shabu shipment was seized by Customs operatives last week in two separate operations in Valenzuela City based on intelligence report provided by Zhang Xiaohui, director of International Enforcement Cooperation Division of Anti-Smuggling Bureau, General Administration of China Customs.
The contraband was hidden in five one-inch thick metal cylinders, wrapped in another one-inch thick rubber, making it impossible for sniffing dogs to detect or for x-ray machines to penetrate.
Eirene Mae Agustino Tatad was identified as the sole proprietor of EMT Trading with business address at Rm. 807 Dasma Corporate Bldg., 321 Dasmarinas Street, Barangay 291, Binondo.
Tatad’s accreditation has been suspended by the BoC Account Management Office as a result of the discovery of the shabu.
Also suspended was the accreditation of Teejay A. Marcellana as Customs broker, with registered address at Rm. 525A, 5/f, FEMII Building, Soriano Avenue, Barangay 656, Manila.