Home » Customs & Trade » Smuggling cases vs BOC staff filed

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) last week filed before the Department of Justice smuggling cases against five of its employees.

Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez said principal customs examiners Vicitacion Difontorum and Ma. Theresa Agabao; Customs examiner Margarita Santiago; and acting document processors Tasha Cali and Glen Ollero helped Lamberto Espiritu, owner of Point Given Marketing, and customs broker Allan Jay De Vera Gahon sneak in 312,400 sacks of rice.

All from the Port of Manila, the BOC personnel have been placed on preventive suspension.

Investigations point to the BOC staff allowing shipment release despite violations in the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and absence of permits from the appropriate government agencies such as the National Food Authority.

The rice shipments were also misdeclared as mung beans which, under Customs laws, are exempt from the payment duties and taxes. Rice, on the other hand, comes with a 50% duty and 12% value-added tax.

Alvarez said the filing of the case sends “a strong warning to our employees that the criminal liability of customs officials accused of conniving with smugglers is equal to the criminal liability of brokers and consignees.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Finance is encouraging the public to help in its fight against smuggling and tax evasion via the agency’s website (www.perangbayan.com).

So far, the website has received more than 1,000 tips on the performance of civil servants.

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