Probe into smuggling in oil industry underway

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2010 07:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2010 10:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance (DOF) is looking into reports of oil smuggling in the country.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told reporters on Thursday he has asked Customs Commissioner Lito Alvarez to verify these reports.

Purisima said the probe will cover all ports in the country, and no one, not even the big oil companies, shall be spared if found guilty of bringing in oil without paying the correct import taxes and duties.

"We're not exempting anyone, we are looking at the whole industry," Purisima said.  

Purisima did not give details about this on-going "study" on oil smuggling.  

The finance secretary also bared the same "study" is being conducted on the steel industry amid reports smuggling is also rife there.

"It's being studied. If ever we find something wrong, we want to gather all the evidence so that when we file, the cases are air tight. We will not satisfy ourselves until government gets its fair share in taxes and duties," he said.

Purisima and Alvarez joined justice chief Leila de Lima in the presentation of the smuggling case filed by the Bureau of Customs before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday morning against Viking Haulers, Inc. for misdeclaration, misclassification and undervaluation of 10 luxury vehicles.

The finance department has promised to beef up its Run After The Smugglers (RATS) and Run After Tax Evaders (RATE) program under the new Aquino administration.