Two individuals posing as customs brokers and suspected of extorting money from stakeholders in exchange for release of shipments were arrested in a joint entrapment by Bureau of Customs (BOC) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives on May 20.
BOC in its media Viber group identified the suspects as Atty. Roberto D. Geotina and Nancy Nuguid, both of whom are not Customs officers.
Geotina was former BOC deputy commissioner of Internal Administration Group during the time of Commissioner Napoleon Morales, and commissioner of the Department of Finance’s (DOF) Central Board of Assessment Appeals until 2017. He was also a former Assistant Secretary of the DOF. His father, the late Rolando Geotina, was a commissioner of BOC.
The arrest stemmed from a complaint received by BOC about the alleged extortion of two individuals demanding half a million pesos in exchange for release of shipments consigned to SHACKA Guns and Ammo.
The complainants claimed Geotina demanded P1.1 million to facilitate release of their shipments, held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport since December due to undervaluation. Two of the three shipments were released but Geotina then asked for an additional P500,000 supposedly to bribe BOC officers into releasing the last shipment. This was when SHACKA Guns and Ammo asked BOC for help.
Upon receiving the complaint, BOC’s Intelligence Group (IG) coordinated with NBI’s Special Action Unit (SAU) for the complainants to provide their sworn statements. Sometime after giving their statements, the complainants received a message from the suspects arranging a meeting at a restaurant in Quezon City, where IG and NBI organized an entrapment operation.
The complainants, together with the undercover authorities, met with the suspects who were arrested after accepting the marked money.
According to SAU chief Atty. Emeterio A. Dongallo, Jr., investigation will continue to identify, apprehend and prosecute any other personalities who may have participation in the alleged extortion.
“We will not tolerate extortion and all forms of corruption in the Bureau,” Customs chief Guerrero said.
“Customs will be cooperating with the NBI on their investigation. If any Customs officer is involved in this extortion, or any other illegal activities, we will make sure that they are prosecuted accordingly,” he added.
Dongallo added that an estafa case will be filed against the two arrested suspects.
“Let this serve as a warning to those officers who unlawfully hold shipments in order to blackmail legitimate businesses and individuals for money. The Bureau will do everything in its power to rid the organization of corruption,” Guerrero said. – Roumina Pablo
Updated on May 25, 2019, 1:45pm, to include additional information on arrest.