Stellent charged anew for illegal steel imports

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2015 12:25 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2015 09:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Stellent Corp. is once again facing a smuggling case.

The Bureau of Customs on Thursday filed smuggling charges against Stellent and its executives before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the illegal importation of six container vans of stainless steel sheets worth an estimated P7.4 million.

The Stellent executives named in the charges include chairman Rico Rigor Cayunda Cinco, board members Charmayne De La Peña Angeles, Asuncion Petra Angeles, Maria Rhezy G. Ilada, Ruge Robert S. Illada, and customs broker Ruby A. Ballesteros.

They are facing charges for alleged violations of Sections 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) and Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code for the misdeclaration of six 20-foot container vans declared as "steel sheet piles". Upon examination, the shipment turned out to be a more expensive type of steel product, which are stainless steel sheets.

Steel sheet pilings are mainly used as ground support in building construction while stainless steel sheets are also used in machinery and vehicle manufacturing, container manufacturing, shipbuilding, and bridge construction.

Also, the declared customs value of the shipment was P433,156, but the examiner discovered its customs value is P809,955. Duties and taxes were declared only at P433,156 while the shipment’s actual duties and taxes amounts to P1,004,405.

"By misdeclaring the stainless steel sheet as steel sheet pipes, Stellent was not only trying to bring into the country a more expensive steel product illegally but they are also evading payment of the lawful duties and taxes. Steel sheet piles are subject to zero tariff under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area Preferential Tariff while stainless steel sheets are subject to three percent tariff,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.

Last January, the BOC also filed smuggling-related charges against Stellent for attempting to illegally import steel products worth P14.3 million from China.