Alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan aka “David Tan” was a no-show when the Department of Justice (DoJ) started the preliminary investigation of his case on Thursday.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed a complaint against Bangayan and several others in connection with their alleged illegal activities aimed at monopolizing the supply and distribution of rice in the country.
In the complaint affidavit filed by the NBI in August, Bangayan was charged with monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade, as penalized under Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); bid fixing, and use of a fictitious name, among others.
Also charged were Judilyne Lim, David Lim, and Leah Echiveria of Cebu-based DGL Commodities; Elizabeth Faustino and Eleanor Rodriguez, Eugene G. Pioquinto, Mary Joyce Lim, Jason Colocado, Michael H. Villanueva, Denis Gonzales, Willy O. Sy, Sandra Lim, Gil O. Calipayan, and Inigo Espiritu.
The NBI filed the criminal complaint upon the request of the Senate, through its Committee Report 763 (Committees on Agriculture and Food, Ways and Means, Trade and Commerce, and Accountability of Public Officers).
The respondents were accused of establishing a scheme to recruit rice farmers in order to organize them “for the purpose of acquiring substantial allocations on the PSF-TES importation program with the end goal of monopolizing the supply of rice.”
“[T]he aforementioned individuals conspired or agreed to organize the farmers cooperatives and organizations as well as other juridical personalities in order to monopolize the supply and distribution of rice thru pre-arranged bidding and other false pretenses thereby preventing free competition in the market,” the complaint read. “With the acts of subject Bangayan and company, the other capable individuals were denied of their share on the allocation of the rice importation.”