Home » Customs & Trade » Law amending RA 9280 faces legal battle

AN association of professional customs brokers is looking at legal remedies to stop the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 9853, the law which amended RA 9280 (Customs Brokers Act of 2004), saying the new legislation is unconstitutional and illegal.

RA 9853, which amended Sections 27 and 29 of RA 9280, explicitly allows corporations and brokerage houses to engage in the business of customs brokerage provided they engage the services of at least one customs broker and they have a paid-up capital of P1 million.

Signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on December 15, 2009, RA 9853 has yet to be published.

The Professional Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc (PCBAPI) said it is waging a legal battle against the amendment on grounds of “constitutional guarantee to equal protection of the laws”.

PCBAPI president Agapito Mendez told PortCalls, “Corporations cannot be legally equated with natural persons because the former are artificial persons.”

He explained, “Only natural persons can go to school and study, take and pass the examination and exercise a profession such as customs broker and all other professions in the country. Legislation and money alone cannot create a true and genuine registered professional with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).”

As a compromise, the group said it will propose that corporations and partnerships be allowed to practice the customs brokerage profession as long as all their incorporators, directors and partners are professional customs brokers.

Earlier, the Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) – so far the only accredited professional organization for brokers under RA 9280 – also expressed opposition to the amendment, noting it further diminishes the role of the customs broker since only one is now required to be engaged by a corporation rather than two under the pre-RA 9280 regime.

CCBI also said it would follow closely the crafting of implementing rules and regulations for the amended RA to make sure its concerns are addressed.

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