The Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed charges before the Department of Justice against the owners and customs brokers of two firms for allegedly illegally importing steel products into the country.
Smuggling-related cases were filed against Tessie Ligon, owner and proprietress of Archer Blaze Marketing, with offices located at U-9 E.B. Santos Commercial Building, National Road cor. P. Navarro, Paltao, Pulilan, Bulacan; and the firm’s customs broker, Aloha Pamintuan, with address at Rm. 326-330 Regina Building, 410 Escolta, Manila; Renato Supan Miranda, owner and proprietor of Echo Titan Marketing Resources, with offices at B12 L12 St. Jude Street, Marvi Hills Subdivision, Brgy. Gulod Malaya, San Mateo, Rizal; and Echo Titan’s customs broker, Junnil Andujar Rollon, with address at Sitio Tarcom, Upper Laguerta, Busay, Cebu City.
Ligon, Pamintuan, Miranda, and Rollon face charges of violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines for unlawful importation and the fraudulent filing of import documents under Sections 3601 and 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. They are also facing charges for alleged violation of the Bureau of Product Standards Law for the attempt of a non-holder of an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) to import steel products without proper certification, and the Revised Penal Code for falsification of documents. In addition, Miranda and Rollon are also facing additional charges for alleged misdeclaration of the weight and value of their shipments in violation of Section 2503 of the Tariff and Customs Code.
“The country imports a significant amount of steel products and there strong demand for these. But we cannot be lax and allow uncertified steel products to enter the local market. Part of our mandate is to protect our people from cheap but unsafe products that could pose a risk to life and limb,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.
Based on the complaint affidavit submitted by the BOC’s Intelligence Group, investigators found that Archer Blaze submitted fake documents including fake Conditional Release Permits of the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS) to facilitate the firm’s importation of 47 20-foot containers of angle bars from China with a total value of P38.741-Million.
Attached to the permits was a fake letter supposedly from DTI-BPS addressed to Port of Manila Acting District Collector Mario Mendoza attesting to the authenticity of the Conditional Releases issued. The shipments arrived through the Port of Manila in four batches last June 10 and 14, 2014.
In the second case, Echo Titan misdeclared the product they imported as ‘steel round bars’ from China. However, upon inspection, customs examiners discovered that the shipment contained various steel products of various sizes including stainless steel flat bars, stainless steel angle bars, and stainless steel round bars.
Import documents also showed grossly misdeclaration of the weight and value of the goods inside one 40-foot and one 20-foot container vans in order to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.
The quantity of the products imported by Echo Titan was also misdeclared by as much as 33%. The import documents declared a quantity of 35,010 for the two containers, with Dutiable Value declared at P1.235-Million with total Duties and Taxes of P248,122.92. Upon inspection, it was found out that the actual weight of the shipment was 52,100 kgs or a discrepancy of 17,090 kgs. With the discovery, Dutiable Value was adjusted and is now at P5.577-Million with the total Duties and Taxes now amounting to P1.113-Million.
The smuggling attempt was foiled on the basis of Alert Orders issued by the BOC’s Intelligence Group.