The Sandiganbayan 5th Division has affirmed the rice smuggling case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against former Bureau of Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon as well as the arrest warrant issued against him.
In a resolution dated September 16, 2021, the court denied the urgent omnibus motion to recall or set aside the hold departure order and arrest warrant as well as to quash the information and dismiss the cases filed by Faeldon on May 19, 2021.
In the cases filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Faeldon, as well as District Collector Tomas Alcid dated October 27, 2020, two sets of rice shipment were allowed to be released from the Port of Cagayan De Oro in 2017 without the required import permit.
The first shipment was 21,800 bags of Vietnam rice worth P18.5 million and the second was 18,200 bags amounting to P15.5 million, both from Cebu Lite Trading, Inc.
Also included in the cases were officials of Cebu Lite Trading namely Lucio Roger Lim Jr., Ambrosio Ursal and Rowena Lim.
“In sum, the separate omnibus motions and supplement are denied for lack of merit, except accused Lim’s prayer for the deferment of arraignment and pre-trial, which the court had already reset to a later date,” the court said.
The court emphasized in the resolution that the information filed by the Ombudsman alleged the essential elements of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019.
“The recital of facts is clear that the respective amounts were based on the monetary value of the bags of Vietnam rice, thorough the use of the word, “worth”,” the court said.
The court also maintained that the bail set for Faeldon for each of the two counts of graft amounts to P90,000.
The lawyer of Faeldon, Atty. Jelina Maree Magsuci also got a stern warning from the court for using “improper language” in the pleadings filed before the court.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Maryann Corpus-Mañalac, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Rafael Lagos and Associate Justice Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.