20 Chinese in Ecija raid charged with smuggling
The Bureau of Customs has filed smuggling charges against 20 Chinese nationals, in connection with the P1 billion worth of fake cigarettes seized in a warehouse in Nueva Ecija last week.
“We’ve already filed smuggling as well as other related cases against them before the Department of Justice,” Assistant Customs Commissaioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said in an interview.
‘No proof yet’
He said the arrested Chinese, whom he did not identify, have been turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI). They were arrested in a raid on Jan. 17 at a warehouse in Sinipit village, in the municipality of Cabiao.
Maronilla said they are still verifying the owner of the warehouse.
He also said, regarding the arrested Chinese, “We have no proof yet if they’re illegal aliens, but the BI will determine that, since these foreigners will have to produce documentation.”Locals work blindfolded
More than 100 Filipinos were also arrested in the raid, but Maronilla said they were freed as they were considered victims. Some of them were ordered to work blindfolded, Maronilla said.
As far as the seized cigarettes and cigarette-making machines are concerned, he said, “we are instituting necessary proceedings and … we will destroy them. But pending that … we’ve already taken hold of substantial parts of the machines to ensure [these] will not be in use or any of the personnel will not be able to do something with them.”
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.