2 consignees, brokers face economic sabotage raps

THE Bureau of Customs announced it is readying charges of smuggling and economic sabotage against two consignees and their customs brokers after foiling an attempt to smuggle into the country, carrots, cigarettes and used clothing worth more than P3.4 million at the Port of Manila.

At a ‘virtual press conference’ yesterday, July 29, 2020, POM district collector, Michael Angelo Vargas and BOC spokesman, Atty. Vincent ‘Jett’ Maronilla, presented to the media the seized products loaded into 2X20 container vans from China.

Maronilla identified the consignees as ‘Real Mart’ and ‘Bayford Marketing and their respective customs brokers as Lara Michelle Dizon and Brix Evale.

Vargas, who just assumed the post off POM district collector, said he immediately placed the shipments on alert and subject to 100 percent inspection after receiving derogatory information from the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).

Real Mart stated in its customs declaration that its shipment consisted of ‘frozen chimei pastry bun’ but was found to contain at least P1.4 million worth of carrots.

On the other hand, the shipment of Bayford Marketing was declared as knapsack bags, tissues, wearing apparel, auto parts and hand tools, but was found to have imported cigarettes, portable welding machines, resin, used clothing (ukay ukay) and other commodities.

Maronilla said that aside from the immediate revocation of the suspects’ customs accreditation, charges of smuggling (misdeclaration) under Section 1400 of the Customs Modernisation and Tariff Act (CMTA) against the group are being readied before the Department of Justice (DOJ) thru the bureau’s ‘Action Team Against Smugglers’ (BATAS).

An additional case for ‘economic sabotage,’ under Section 23 of RA 10845 or the ‘Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 is also to be filed against Real Mart.

Under Section 3 of RA 10845, the smuggling of agricultural products including carrots worth more than P1 million is considered ‘economic sabotage’ with a penalty of life imprisonment.