Justice dept orders NBI to probe alleged agricultural smuggling

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2022 04:35 PM

MANILA — The Department of Justice on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the alleged smuggling of agricultural goods into the country.

The investigation includes the alleged smuggling of palm oil products that are declared as animal feeds to dodge tariffs, said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

"I have directed the NBI to conduct its own independent investigation of reports regarding rampant smuggling of certain agricultural products, including palm oil declared as animal feeds but actually converted and utilized as vegetable cooking oil," Guevarra said.

Guevarra said he also asked state prosecutors to speed up their preliminary investigation on complaints related to agricultural smuggling.

The DOJ continues to coordinate with the Anti-Red Tape Authority to go after smugglers, which may include people from government and the private sector, he said.

Those involved may face administrative and criminal cases, he added.

The agriculture department earlier said it was conducting a separate investigation on the issue.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said alleged palm oil smuggling has resulted to some P45 billion in foregone revenue. 

— Report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News

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