The Bureau of Customs on Thursday charged before the Department of Justice five officers of an importing firm and their broker for the allegedly attempting to smuggle into the Subic Freeport Zone 20,000 bags of rice from Vietnam worth about P30 million.
Charged with violations of the Tariff and Customs Code were officers of the rice shipment’s consignee Masagana Import Export Inc. They are its president Jan Dexter Marfil, secretary Editha Arzola, treasurer Jeaneth Espeleta, and directors Gerardo Yaco Vega and William Tunog Quiohilag.
Also sued was Masagana’s customs broker Mary Joy Sanchez.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, who led the filing of the case, said the 20,000 bags arrived in Subic on June 20 and stacked in 40 40-foot containers and declared as “gypsum board” to avoid the import permit required from the National Food Authority.
A subsequent alert order was issued by Biazon and deputy commissioner for enforcement group Horacio Suansing Jr. after the discovery by BoC operatives of the misdeclaration of the shipment.
“This was a deliberate attempt to deceive our operatives to avoid the import permit requirement from the NFA for all rice importations and to defraud the government of its appropriate revenues,” Biazon said.
“We will strongly pursue this case against all those involved in this attempt, if only to stop this illegal activity that is hurting our local farmers,” he added.