In compliance with President Aquino’s order for the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to criminally charge suspected smugglers to keep them off the country’s ports, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon today (August 15, 2013), led other customs officials in formally charging Cebu based trader Jane B. Mabano at the Department of Justice (DOJ) for her attempt to smuggle 532 twenty-footer container vans of white rice from Vietnam worth PhP 354 million.
According to Biazon, Mabano violated Section 3601, in relation to Section 101 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines as amended, when she tried to slip her hot rice shipment into the country by misdeclaring them as granite slabs, stone slabs and ceiling insulator slabs last March 31, 2013 at the Port of Cebu. The illegal rice shipment from Vietnam was consigned to MMSM Trading, a company owned by Mabano.
“The BOC will relentlessly pursue legal action against all those involved in the biggest rice smuggling attempt in the Bureau of Customs. We will do everything within our means to get convictions on the cases we shall file against all those involved in the Cebu rice smuggling attempt.” Biazon said.
Mabano is the second consignee to be charged by the BOC’s Run-After-The-Smugglers (RATS), in connection with the attempt to smuggle 1,196 container vans of rice from Vietnam at the Port of Cebu. Another consignee was earlier charged by RATS for attempting to smuggle 50 container vans of smuggled rice, also from Vietnam. The case is now undergoing preliminary investigation.
Today’s filing of smuggling charges against Mabano brings to 101, the total number of cases filed by the Bureau of Customs during Biazon’s almost two years as Customs Chief. This also brings to 145, the total number of smuggling cases filed by the BOC at the DOJ during the administration of President Simeon Benigno Aquino III.
“In accordance with the President’s order to file charges against suspected smugglers every other week, I am warning all importers and traders not to even think about smuggling. We will spare no one in our drive to rid our ports of smugglers.” Biazon said.
For his part, Deputy Commissioner for Revenue Collection and Monitoring group (RCMG) and RATS Head Peter Manzano said, the BOC is tightening its cases against smugglers to ensure convictions.