DOJ approves filing of raps vs Davidson Bangayan, others for rice smuggling
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the filing of a criminal complaint against Davidson Bangayan or David Tan and five others for rice smuggling.
In an 11-page resolution released Friday, the DOJ found probable cause to charge Bangayan with violation of Article 186 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) or “monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade” as well as violation of Section 1, in relation to Section 5 of the Commonwealth Act No. 142 as amended by Republic Act 6085 or An Act to Regulate the Use of Aliases.
To be charged with violation of Article 186 along with Bangayan are Elizabeth Faustino, David G. Lim, Judilyne C. Lim, Eleanor C. Rodriguez and Leah Echeveria.
Bangayan and the others allegedly used dummies in making rice importations.
Meanwhile, the DOJ dismissed the complaint filed against other respondents Eugene Pioquinto, Mary Joyce Lim, Jason Colocado, Michael Villanueva, Denis Gonzales, Willy Sy, Sandra Lim, Gil Calipayan, and Inigo Espiritu for violating Article 186 of the RPC and the RA no. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The case against the six respondents stemmed from the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti-Graft Division (NBI-AGD) stating that the respondents used farmers’ organizations as their dummies in the bidding of rice importations conducted by the National Food Authority (NFA) whose office is in Taguig City.
The DOJ pointed out that, “To set things in proper perspective, it must first be laid out that in a preliminary investigation, the quantum of proof necessary is only the determination of probable cause which merely requires the probability of guilt or reasonable ground for belief. The determination of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not, a crime has been committed and there is enough reason to believe that it was committed by the accused.”
“It need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilt. What is merely required is ‘probability of guilt’. Its determination, too, does not call for the application of rules or standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. Thus, in concluding that there is probable cause, it suffices that it is believed that the act or omission complained of constitutes the very offense charged,” it added.
It was also clarified that in the NBI complaint there were two different sets of transactions. One set was between Bangayan and Faustino while the second set is between the Lim couple, Rodriguez, and Echeveria.
It was also mentioned that while the NBI did not attach in its complaint the transcript of stenographic notes of the Senate committee hearing where Bangayan allegedly admitted to his participation in the rice importation and that he is known as “David Tan,” the NBI did include the Senate Committee Report dated Feb. 6, 2013 wherein in the committee’s findings and recommendation it was mentioned that “David Tan” be among those investigated for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) and Article 186 of the RPC. /muf
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