CCBI seeks lifting of BOC sanctions vs 80 members

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  • The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. is requesting the Bureau of Customs Revenue Collection Monitoring Group to lift the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of accreditation of more than 80 customs brokers
  • The request is part of CCBI’s assistance to members who it said “were simply victims of uncontrollable circumstances in the course of their professional practice at the Bureau of Customs”
  • Customs commissioner Bienvenido Rubio issued a memo last February stating that “no preliminary suspension may be imposed against accredited licensed Customs Brokers transacting with the Bureau until an appropriate administrative charge for suspension or revocation of their customs accreditation has been filed against them”

The Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI) is requesting the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Revenue Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG) to lift the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of accreditation of more than 80 customs brokers.

In a letter to RCMG deputy commissioner Atty. Clarence Dizon dated April 18, CCBI national president Anthony Cristobal requested an immediate review of the cases whose preventive/preliminary suspensions have lapsed or are pending before the Legal Service under RCMG or before the Department of Justice (DOJ), or already have favorable decisions from the courts/DOJ, and other analogous cases of suspensions.

Cristobal also requested the issuance of an omnibus lifting of the suspended, canceled or revoked accreditation with BOC.

In a phone interview with PortCalls, Cristobal said the preliminary suspension of some of the customs brokers have already passed the allowed maximum period of 90 days under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 12-2021 but BOC has yet to lift their suspension.

CMO 12-2021 contains guidelines on the imposition of penalties relative to the accreditation of importers and customs brokers.

Cristobal said they have yet to receive a response from RCMG but had handed another copy of their letter to Dizon in a recent meeting.

The request to lift the suspension of more than 80 customs brokers is part of CCBI’s assistance to its members who it said “were simply victims of uncontrollable circumstances in the course of their professional practice at the Bureau of Customs.”

It also follows CCBI’s meeting last February with BOC Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group deputy commissioner Vener Baquiran where they were “able to draft a favorable memorandum aimed at safeguarding the customs brokers’ interests against the automatic suspension, cancellation, or revocation of their customhouse licenses-even in the absence of proper notice and hearing.”

A memo dated February 12 was consequently issued by Customs commissioner Bienvenido Rubio which said that, upon perusal of CMO No. 12-2021, no preliminary suspension may be imposed either on the importer or customs broker unless an appropriate administrative charge for their suspension or revocation has been filed.

In 2020, CCBI, together with the Aduana Business Club, Inc., requested BOC to implement due process in the suspension or revocation of accreditation of importers and customs brokers.

Last year, CCBI issued a resolution to provide free legal assistance to members with cases before any court, DOJ, Professional Regulation Commission, and all other judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative bodies, including BOC.

READ: CCBI offers free legal aid to brokers

Cristobal earlier said that customs brokers only rely on the documents provided to them by their client importers and are not privy to the actual contents of the shipments.

According to the CCBI resolution, it is “common knowledge” that customs brokers, in the performance of their function, particularly in accomplishing the import declaration, he/she is guided with and will assume true and correct the information about the imported goods gathered from the shipment’s bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, and certificate of origin, among others.

It added that despite the decision of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Remigio versus Sandiganbayan on January 18, 2022 and all similar cases that exonerated a customs broker from criminal liabilities, these rulings are not being considered when cases are filed against customs brokers who just relied on shipping documents presented by their client importers. – Roumina Pablo