BOC files smuggling raps vs 2 firms, customs brokers

MANILA The Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed smuggling charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against two importers and customs brokers for gross undervaluation of imports and large-scale agricultural smuggling.

BOC filed separate cases on Monday against the two companies, namely Granstar Premiere Sports Corporation and Seven Myth Marketing.

The first smuggling complaint involved Granstar's shipments of 112 units of brand new Vespa scooters from Singapore which arrived at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

According to Customs chief Isidro LapeAa, Fabian A. Go, the owner and major stockholder of Granstar Premiere Sports Corporation and customs broker Norinel O. Quezana who processed the importation of the subject illegal shipments, were facing violation of sections 2503 (Undervaluation, Misclassification, Misdeclaration in Entry), 3602 (Various Fraudulent Practices against Customs Revenue), 3601 (Unlawful Importation) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), and article 172 (Falsification by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) of the Revised Penal Code.

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) operatives who conducted the examination on September 17, 2014 of the subject containers, the USD50,400 or PHP2,504,128 total declared value of the imported goods was considerably lower compared to the USD3,448.24 per unit actual value of the goods.

Based on the complaint-affidavit, the declared value of the shipments plus duties and taxes amount to only PHP3,647,770, but based on the value provided by the Import Assessment Service (IAS) on January 26, 2015, the actual dutiable value of the shipments plus duties and taxes amount to PHP28,297,167.46. There appeared a staggering 87 percent discrepancy in value.

Proceedings followed and finally on July 28, 2017, the Port's District Collector ordered the forfeiture of the subject shipment, Bureau's Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) Executive Director Lawyer Yasser Ismail Abbas said.

He noted that the said shipments arrived at Subic on January 22, 2014 and entries were only filed by September 2014.

Meanwhile, Leoncio Victor S. Mangubat, the registered owner of Seven Myth Marketing, Manila and customs broker Mary Faith D. Miro were facing for violation of Section 1400 (Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Good Declaration), in relation to Section 1401 (Unlawful Importation or Exportation) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), and Article 172 in relation to Article 171 (Falsification by Private Individuals and Use of Falsified Documents) of the Revised Penal Code.

The smuggling charge involved two shipments from China consigned to Seven Myth Marketing which arrived at the Port of Cebu on November 27 and 29, 2017.

The consignee declared the two shipments as ceramic tiles but was found to contain 7,150 sacks of 50 kilograms Sinandomeng Aguila and Sinandomeng Mayon rice with estimated duties and taxes of PHP10,013,503.50.

The consignee imported 15 containers but it was discovered during the examination that only one container actually contained ceramic tiles.

The shipments were alerted on December 7, 2017 based on the derogatory information received by the Bureau and was subsequently seized on December 13, 2017.

Since the value of the shipments is PHP10 million, the consignee and broker were likewise charged for economic sabotage for large-scale agricultural smuggling under R.A. 10845 or the CMTA.

We will make sure that importers and brokers blatantly violating Customs rules and regulations will face legal action and revocation of Customs accreditation. I have given BATAS Executive Director Lawyer Yasser Ismail Abbas strict instructions to go hard on smugglers and intensify the filing of cases against them, big or small, LapeAa declared.

The BoC Chief also said they expect an upsurge in smuggling activities because of the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

The people is being informed through the media that we have intensified our operation against smuggling. We expect that there will be an upsurge in smuggling because of the TRAIN Law, LapeAa told reporters during press conference at the DOJ after the filing of the complaint.

LapeAa said they expect an increase in smuggling activities because of the increase in taxes under the TRAIN Law.

Even before the TRAIN Law, smuggling is already something that is profitable to people engaged in shortchanging the government of its rightful revenue. Lalu na ngayon (especially now), he noted.

The TRAIN law, which was signed into law by President Duterte last Dec. 19, was the first package of the government's proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), seen to generate additional revenue to fund the country's investment requirements.

It exempts those with an annual income of PHP250,000 and below from personal income tax and imposes excise taxes on petroleum products, automobiles, and sugar-sweetened beverages in order to offset revenue losses from lowering personal income taxes.

Due to the CTRP, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) earlier said the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) would be higher by 0.5 to 1.1 percent by year 2022.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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