MANILA (UPDATE) - The Senate agriculture committee on Monday is set to file perjury charges against businessman David Bangayan for allegedly lying under oath during the Senate's investigation on rice smuggling.
However, instead of detaining him, Sen. Cynthia Villar directed the Senate legal counsel to file perjury charges against Bangayan before Friday this week.
She said she will also ask the Department of Justice and Bureau of Immigration to place Bangayan under the immigration watchlist. She said the panel will ask the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his passport.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she has already placed Bangayan in the watchlist.
She also said the National Bureau of Investigation is set to serve the arrest warrant for Bangayan issued by the Caloocan regional trial court in connection with a charge for violation of RA 7832 or the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage.
De Lima said this is the same arrest warrant issued by the court against David Tan, which is allegedly an alias used by Bangayan. The justice chief said the DOJ issued a manifestation to the court, saying that Bangayan and Tan are one and the same person.
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile was the first to move to cite Bangayan for contempt after the senator insisted that Bangayan is alleged smuggling king David Tan.
Enrile cited as evidence Bangayan's own libel complaint against Jesus Arranza in 2005 wherein he admitted that he is Bangayan "aka David Tan."
Bangayan, however, said his lawyer made a mistake in filing the complaint and that he was merely quoting a newspaper report identifying him as Tan.
Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also confirmed that Bangayan had been using the alias David Tan.
Sen. JV Ejercito then seconded Enrile's motion to cite Bangayan for contempt.
For his part, Bangayan said it is common practice that import permits are sold among rice importers because of the restrictions imposed by government.
He said that in 2012, his group only cornered about 7% of total rice importations to the Philippines that year.
Bangayan said he only started in rice importation in 2011.
The National Food Authority said Bangayan is not a registered rice importer and has no permit to import rice.
This is despite a letter from the Vietnamese embassy that said a company linked to Bangayan had signed a contract to import 120,000 metric tons from Vietnam in October 2013. The importation did not push through after the NFA did not issue an import to Adolphe Trading.
Adolphe's office is at Unit 401, Prestige Tower in Pasig City, which is owned by Bangayan.