THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed its first two smuggling cases late last week under newly installed Commissioner Angelito Alvarez.
Charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) were Gold Mine Trading proprietor Eduardo Ignacio Saguid and Quick Flo Trading proprietor Nestor Mendoza Ignacio for allegedly smuggling P300 million worth of household appliances, office equipment and agricultural products in the last six months. The shipments were covered by 1,300 import entries.
The charge sheet also includes customs brokers Sheryl Garcia, Donald Nulod, Roilan Altamira, Aleli Arellano, Marcelo Laylo, Manalo Palma, Benjamin Suzon and, Dominador Tanay and the syndicate’s financiers, several John Does/Jane Does.
A BOC investigation revealed Gold Mine Trading and Quick Flo Trading share the same address – a residential home in Sta. Mesa.
Commissioner Alvarez said the filing of the charges sends a strong signal to smugglers and their cohorts in Customs. “We will run after them and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. My personal goal is to make smuggling unprofitable.”
Alvarez said charges should also be filed against BOC employees who approve the accreditation of bogus, non-existent companies and who facilitate the release of misdeclared and/or undervalued commodities.
The prosecution of two big-time smugglers every two weeks was one of the commitments made by Alvarez when he took his oath as commissioner earlier this month.
His action plan also includes zero tolerance against corruption; plugging revenue loopholes; promoting transparency and trade facilitation through further automation; implementing international best practices under the Revised Kyoto Convention; strengthening the post-entry audit system so the bureau could go after more tax evaders; and introducing promotion policies patterned after the private sector.