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NBI files graft case vs DENR, BOC personnel over trash from Canada

/ 05:24 PM January 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed graft charges against eight personnel of the Department of Natural Resources (DENR), including an undersecretary, and of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) who were found to be liable in the illegal importation of solid waste from Canada.

NBI Director Dante Gierran said Thursday that the cases were filed by the bureau’s Environmental Crime Division on January 17 against Atty. Juan Miguel Cuna, DENR Undersecretary for Priority Programs and Field Operations-Luzon; DENR-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) personnel Irvin Cadavona; Geri Geronimo Sanez; and Renato Cruz.

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The cases were likewise filed against BOC personnel identified as Benjamin Perez Jr., Eufracio Ednaco, Matilda Bacongan, and Jose Saromo.

According to Gierran, the NBI, after almost nine months of investigation, found out that Chronic Plastics Inc. in Canada were issued import clearances for its various importation of scrap plastic materials despite its failure to provide all necessary information needed for the application of their import clearance.

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READ: Never again: Trash returned to Canada after 6 years in the Philippines

Specifically, the cases recommended for prosecution against the respondents before the Office of the Prosecutor General of the DOJ were for violation of the Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990 and the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Accordingly, the DENR-EMB personnel in-charge in the processing of the application was remiss in their duties to strictly examine the application, as to the completeness of the required documents and to the required inspection prior to the approval of its registration as importer,” read a statement from the NBI.

Without the necessary information, the EMB cannot sufficiently determine that Chronic Plastics, Inc. is capable of recycling the materials to be imported, according to Gierran.

“However, despite lacking the specific requirement and without inspection being made, the application was still being processed and recommended its approval to the EMB director,” the statement added.

Importation consigned to the company was also released despite the questionable importation clearances, said the NBI director.

The assigned BOC examiner and appraiser allegedly “re-routed” goods declaration from being tagged as “yellow” to “green” and allowed to proceed to the next process “despite its clear violation on DENR.”

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Likewise, goods declaration tagged as “red” were also re-routed to “green” despite the same violations, according to Gierran.

The BOC implements a color-selectivity system in ports where all shipments are tagged according to type: green for low-risk, yellow as medium-risk, and red for high-risk containers.

“The above-named EMB personnel, charged in the processing and evaluation of the importer’s registration and importation clearance, should have required the Chronic Plastics Inc. to provide more information and documents to support its application for importation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the BOC personnel assigned at the Formal Entry Division of Manila International Container Port and were tagged as respondents in the complaint “should have noticed during the conduct of document examination the questionable importation clearance filed by Chronic Plastics Inc,” added the NBI chief.

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TAGS: BOC, DENR, NBI
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