First case: NBI files raps vs 5 for illegal coal trade
The National Bureau of Investigation has filed criminal charges against five people allegedly trading coal illegally.
The respondents—William Di, Alexander Di, Margaret Di Go, Rosalita Aguilar and Antonio Remolisan—are incorporators and members of the board of directors of Minerales Tinta Resources Corp.
They were charged with theft of minerals and falsification of official documents in the NBI complaint filed in the Department of Justice on Wednesday.
“Minerales, under the law, is deemed to have stolen the coal that they delivered to the plant of Best Tiwi, consistent with Section 78 of Presidential Decree No. 463 or the Mineral Resources Development Decree of 1974,” the complaint said.
The case buildup and the filing of charges were in line with the Department of Energy’s crackdown on the illegal use and purchase of coal, and illegal coal mining and trading.
In 2012, the DOE issued an order requiring coal traders, suppliers and users to get or renew their accreditation annually. This was intended to weed out illegal coal traders and theft of minerals in the country.
NBI Supervising Agent Mark Santiago said the case against Minerales was the first to be filed following the issuance of the DOE order.
Santiago said the bureau sent subpoenas to the respondents’ business address registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to get their side.
When the NBI checked the address at Meadowood Executive Village in Bacoor, Cavite province, it turned out to be a residential house.
“They could not be reached as they provided a false address in all their company registration with the barangay, local government, SEC and DOE,” the complaint read.
Minerales “engaged in coal trading” at least 18 times from May 2 up to May 31, said Santiago.
One of their clients was Best Tiwi Food Products, which manufactures nuts and crackers at its plant in Barangay Callos, Santa Cruz, Laguna province.
Minerales delivered 18 truckloads of coal equivalent to 431 metric tons worth P2,284,300 to Best Tiwi Food Products as certified by Noel E. Tolarbas, plant manager, according to the complaint.
The bureau has yet to determine where Minerales got the coal it sent to the plant.
NBI investigators found that a number of the food manufacturer’s plants were purchasing coal from traders without accreditation from the DOE.
Some of the buyers were food and beverage companies, such as Zest-O Corp., Syscore and Best Tiwi, Santiago said.
“We are just a buyer from traders,” Zest-O Corp. CEO Fred Yao said in a text message to the Inquirer on Thursday.
The NBI has asked the food manufacturers to cooperate and produce the names of other coal traders, he added.
It reminded them that like coal traders, users or clients, they were criminally liable for patronizing illegally mined or traded coal.