• SC stops release of smuggled rice

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    THE Supreme Court junked the plea for the release of smuggled rice seized by the Bureau of Customs in 2014.

    In a resolution dated June 23, 2015 obtained by The Manila Times, the SC denied a motion for reconsideration for the release of the rice filed by respondents Joseph Mangupag Ngo, Danilo Galang and Ivy Souza.

    The respondents argued that because of the rice shortage and the El Nino phenomenon, the non-release of the staple would have a strong negative effect on the economy. This was denied however by the high court.

    “The Court finds respondents’ motion for reconsideration of this Court’s resolution of April 22, 2014 lacking in merit,” the SC announced in a resolution signed and promulgated by Atty. Enriqueta E. Vidal, en banc clerk of court.

    The SC argued that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) “is not covered by the temporary restraining orders (of the lower courts). Hence, the said agency may proceed as it may deem proper to the best advantage of the government, and undertake such procedures with regard to the subject rice shipments in its custody.”

    In their motion for reconsideration, the respondents argued that the rice stored in 480 shipping containers seized by the BOC will deteriorate if the cargo was not released.

    Earlier, the hot rice, imported without permits from the National Food Authority (NFA), was approved for release by a lower court upon the ruling of Davao RTC Judge Emmanuel Carpio and Manila RTC Judge Cicero Jurado Jr. Carpio is the brother of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

    A farmers group led by Jaime Tadeo, head of the Alyansa Agrikultura and the National Farmers Council, protested and filed administrative charges against the judges, asking the high court to dismiss them from the service.

    The SC halted the release with the issuance of a resolution against Judges Carpio and Jurado on April 22, 2014.

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