Smuggling raps filed vs car trader, 5 others | Inquirer News

Smuggling raps filed vs car trader, 5 others

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 03:00 AM June 03, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday brought charges against alleged smuggler Lynard Allan Bigcas and five of his purported cohorts in connection with the 29 luxury motorcycles and cars seized by authorities from his warehouse in Talakag, Bukidnon province nearly a month ago.

The National Bureau of Investigation had earlier said the high-end vehicles were stolen from their owners in the United States and smuggled into the Philippines.

Those charged with violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code along with Bigcas at the Department of Justice were Noeh Alcala, Joshua Bigcas, Gilbert Omolon, Luke Alcala and Lyann Bigcas.


Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez and agents of the BOC’s Run After The Smugglers (RATS) unit also filed a case of falsification of public documents against the six accused.


Alvarez said the BOC was readying criminal and administrative charges against the officials who had facilitated the smuggling and registration of the vehicles in question.

“They obviously falsified documents because they were able to register the vehicles under their names despite their failure to secure certificates of payment from the [BOC],” Alvarez said in a news conference.


“The vehicles would not have been registered without the connivance of some corrupt officials in the LTO and customs,” he said.

Alvarez said he had issued a warrant of seizure for all the vehicles, which, he said, were still in the custody of the NBI and the Philippine National Police.

He said the BOC would auction off the vehicles and turn over the proceeds to the national treasury.


The BOC likewise filed a smuggling case against one Aiza Magallanes Makig-Angay, the owner of Cren Trading which allegedly tried to “spirit out” two high-end sport utility vehicles worth P3.1 million.

Alvarez said Makig-Angay had misdeclared a steel container loaded with a 2003 Hummer H2 and a 2010 Toyota Tundra Platinum from Japan as containing furniture.

Proof of payment

Importers cannot register vehicles bought from other countries at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) without a certificate of payment from the BOC, according to Alvarez.

“That document is proof that the registered owner was able to pay the required taxes and duties to the government,” he said.

Alvarez said that in the case of Lynard Bigcas et al., none of the vehicles under their names was covered by the needed clearances from the BOC.

He said Lynard Bigcas was the registered owner of a 1999 Chevrolet Corvett (KFT537), a Harley Davidson motorbike (OU5313) and a Suzuki motorcycle (7015JB). The other seized vehicles were registered to his coaccused.

Among the expensive motorcycles confiscated from Lynard Bigcas’ warehouse was the P4-million Harley Davidson “chopper” of Hollywood screenwriter Skip Woods.

The custom-made big bike was reportedly stolen from the parking area of Woods’ condominium apartment in Houston, Texas, last year.

Alvarez said Lynard Bigcas et al. had also failed to obtain “authority to import” permits from the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Import Service.

No record of clearance

Deputy Customs Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, who also heads the RATS unit, said there was no record to support the claim of Lynard Bigcas et al. that their vehicles had been cleared by the bureau.

“This means that the smuggled cars and big bikes were most likely withdrawn from customs jurisdiction after being misdeclared as something else,” Chavez said.

Citing a report from Esteban Baltazar, director of the LTO office in Northern Mindanao, Alvarez said the “hot vehicles” were first registered at the LTO branch in Tubod, Lanao del Norte, and Molave, Zamboanga del Sur.

Testifying last month at a hearing of the House subcommittee on customs and related laws, Lynard Bigcas said he had used balikbayan boxes to bring the high-end motorcycles into the country.

Alvarez on Thursday said he doubted the claim, but acknowledged that it was a novelty: “Based on my experience, I have reservations about it. But it gave a new twist in the story.”

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He added: “Previously, we were only focusing on customs officers in the Mindanao container terminal in Davao. Now, we are also looking into how shipments are being released through balikbayan boxes.”

TAGS: Smuggling

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