DOJ approves smuggling raps vs Mark Taguba, 8 others
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the filing of smuggling charges against customs broker Mark Taguba and eight others for the importation of 604 kilograms of shabu in 2017 estimated to be worth P6.4 billion.
Facing a complaint for violation of Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) were Taguba; Eirene Mae A. Tatad, owner of EMT Trading; Teejay A. Marcellana, a registered broker; Chen Ju Long (a.k.a. Richard Tan), chairman and general manager of freight forwarder Hongfei; Li Guang Feng (a.k.a.Manny Li), who facilitated the release of the shipment from the Bureau of Customs (BOC); Dong Yi Shen( a.k.a. Kenneth Dong), the one who tapped Taguba; Fidel Anoche Dee, the alleged consignee; Chen I. Min and Jhu Ming Jyun, who rented the property used as a warehouse for the shabu shipments.
The complaint also included several John and Jane Does.
Specifically, Taguba et al. will face charges for violation of Section 1400 of CMTA for misdeclaration, misclassification, and undervaluation of goods declaration; Section 1401 in relation to Section 118 (g) for unlawful importation or exportation; and Section 1401 for facilitating the transportation of articles imported in violation of the law.
According to the DOJ resolution, Hongfei, an international freight forwarder with an expired license to operate in the Philippines, hired Li in February 2017 to handle the release of the shipments from BOC. Li then approached Dong to search for a customs broker. Dong then tapped Taguba to facilitate BOC documents, provide a dummy consignee (EMT) and pay the taxes and duties as well as deliver the containers to the owner for an “all-in price” of P190,000.
Taguba, in turn, tapped Tatad’s EMT to act as dummy consignee with a retainers fee of P1,500 per container and hired Marcellana to process EMTs documents and receive the shipments from China.
The property in Valenzuela, on the other hand, was rented by Chen and Jhu from Dee’s sister while Enoche Dee was the “ultimate consignee.”
All the respondents, in their separate counter affidavits, told the DOJ that they have no knowledge of the contents of the shipment, saying they merely relied on the documents for the description of the contents. Tatad even said that EMT only entered into the picture as “consignee for hire,” of which only the name was used by Taguba to facilitate BOC documents.
Based on the documents, the shipment that arrived from Quanzhou, China on May 16, 2017 contained cutting boards, footwear, kitchenware, and moulds.
The DOJ, in its resolution, said that while the participation of each of the respondents appear to be compartmentalized, the goal is the same — to facilitate the release of the shipment from the BOC.
“Evidently, the facts recited would readily support the conclusion that all of the respondents in this case were interested in bringing into the country [the] container which was loaded with dangerous drugs secretly packed inside five steel metal cylinders enclosed in five wooded crates,” the DOJ resolution read.
“Conspiracy need not be shown by direct proof of an agreement of the parties to commit a crime, as it can be inferred from the acts of the accused which clearly manifest a concurrents of wills, a common intent or design to commit a crime,” the resolution added.
The DOJ said denying knowledge of the actual contents of the shipment “deserves scant consideration.”
“What matters is that they committed act/s which has a vital connection to the chain of conspiracy, that without such act, the unlawful importation would be unsuccessful,” said the DOJ.
It added that regardless of the knowledge on the actual contents of the shipment, the accused are aware that the importation was unlawful.
The resolution was written by Assistant State Prosecutor Charlie Guhit and signed and approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Miguel F. Guido Jr. and acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony D. Fadullon. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.