Philippines asks US: How did stolen cars, bikes get out? | Global News

Philippines asks US: How did stolen cars, bikes get out?

The Philippine government has sought the help of the United States in curbing the “worsening situation” of stolen cars from the US being smuggled into the country, citing the case of alleged car smuggler Lynard Allan Bigcas.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez has written US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking for documents and an explanation as to how 29 cars and motorcycles that Bigcas allegedly smuggled into the country were able to exit the United States.

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The letter was coursed through US Ambassador to Manila Harry Thomas Jr.

“This is to formally seek the assistance of your good office in our fight against smuggling and other forms of fraud against the government of the Philippines and the United States,” Alvarez said in the letter dated July 5.

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“In view of the worsening situation of stolen cars from the US being brought illegally into Philippine territory, may we request your administration to please enlighten us on how these stolen cars were able to leave US territory,” he said.

“We would also like to know if there are export documents that you can share with us so that we may able to use these as evidence in the ongoing investigation of this case,” he said.

Alvarez listed the 29 cars and big bikes—including a custom-made Martin Bros. chopper—that were allegedly stolen in Houston, Texas, that found their way to the Philippines.

The list included a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution,  Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Corvette,  Dodge Charger, Toyota Sequoia, Ranger RZR Utility Terrain Vehicle, Polaris Magnum, Yamaha Ultramatic, Moto Elf, six Suzuki bikes, Kawasaki Ninja and two other Kawasaki bikes, Honda stunt bike and five other Honda bikes, Harley Davidson, and three Yamaha bikes.

“Based on Philippine customs’ continuing investigation, it has been disclosed that there were no documents or records that would support the allegation that the confiscated vehicles were cleared by customs as luxury vehicles and motorbikes,” Alvarez said.

“This illegal movement of motor vehicles has successfully been brought over to Philippine territory without proper documentation. It was also discovered that the modus operandi had been going on for quite some time now,” he added.

Alvarez informed Napolitano that the Philippine Congress had initiated an inquiry into the report of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the illegal movement of the 29 motor vehicles and big bikes.

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“Some of these cars were originally owned by Hollywood screenwriter, producer and film director Skip Woods. Unfortunately, these hot cars ended up in the hands of businessman Lynard Allan Bigcas, who is based in the southern island of the Philippines (Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao),” Alvarez said.

Alvarez asked for assistance under the Customs Mutual Administration Agreement that the US and the Philippines signed on July 27, 2000.

The agreement states that the two countries should furnish each other “available information regarding activities” that may result in crimes in their jurisdictions.

Bigcas, meanwhile, failed to show up Friday for the preliminary investigation of the Department of Justice on the complaint filed against him by the Bureau of Customs.

The other respondents in the case, namely, Noel Alcala, Gilbert Omolon, Luke Alcala, Lyann Bigcas and Joshua Bigcas also were no-shows and also failed to send lawyers to represent them.

Senior State Prosecutor Edwin Dayog reset the hearing to August 4 and 5.

“The complaint would be submitted for resolution if he (Bigcas) fails to show up again without any justifiable reason,” Dayog said.

Dayog also required the Bureau of Customs to submit the report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation which joined the twin raids by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police on Bigcas’ garages in Talakag and Pasil, Cagayan de Oro City, last May. With a report from Nikko Dizon

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, car theft, Crime, Foreign affairs, Government, International relations, Lynard Allan Bigcas, Philippines, robbery, Smuggling, United States
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