Guevarra vows to evaluate rice smuggling cases

MANILA -- After President Rodrigo Duterte's stern warning for traders to stop engaging in rice cartels, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would personally inquire on the number and status of rice smuggling cases pending before the Department of Justice.

Guevarra made this assurance following appeals to file charges against rice smugglers to deter them from continuing with their illegal activities.

I'm checking if there are other rice smuggling cases being investigated, he said. The DOJ will evaluate all available evidence and will act accordingly.

Senator Cynthia Villar recently urged the DOJ and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to sanction at least one rice smuggler to show that the government is serious in implementing laws against rice smuggling.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, echoed President Rodrigo Duterte's warning against smugglers to stop messing with the people during his third State of the Nation Address.

One of the latest rice smuggling cases filed before the DOJ is the complaint filed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on July 26 against Sta. Rosa Farms president and general manager Jomerito Soliman, chief financial officer Dolores Opancia, directors Mary Grace Cayanan and Marileen AvaAez. Also named respondent is the reported licensed customs broker Diosdado Santiago.

They were alleged to have illegally imported 200 container vans of rice from Thailand that arrived at the Manila International Container Port. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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