Raps filed vs Vietnam rice importers

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2012 12:24 AM | Updated as of Sep 21 2012 08:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed smuggling charges on Thursday against 5 people and a customs broker in connection with the alleged illegal importation of some 20,000 bags of rice from Vietnam with a total cost of P30 million.

Charged with the Department of Justice (DOJ) were the alleged Vietnam rice shipment's consignee, Masagana Import Export, Inc. president Jan Dexter Marfil, treasurer and board member Jeaneth Espeleta Vega, directors Gerardo Yaco Vega, and Willam Tunog Quiohilag, and customs broker Mary Joy Sanchez.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the subject shipment of Vietnam rice arrived at the Subic free port on June 20, 2012.

The shipment was stacked in forty 40-footer container vans and declared as "gypsum board" to allegedly avoid the necessary import permit from the National Food Authority (NFA), Biazon added.

"This was a deliberate attempt to deceive our operatives to avoid the import permit requirement from the National Food Authority (NFA) for all rice importations and to defraud the government of its appropriate revenues," he said.