3 women tied to David Tan under NBI probe
MANILA, Philippines—Three women, who allegedly acted as conduits for Davidson Bangayan aka David Tan in smuggling rice into the country, are now under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation.
Documents obtained by the Inquirer showed that the NBI was investigating Eleanor Rodriguez of Parañaque City; Leah Echeveria of Banilad, Mandaue City; and an Elizabeth Faustino.
Rodriguez was listed as owner of Metrograins Marketing in Valenzuela City and had been under investigation by the NBI as early as 2008 in connection with rice smuggling.
Members of cooperatives said the women used their cooperatives as dummies to allow David Tan to participate in the bidding on March 26, 2012, at the National Food Authority (NFA) for the importation of rice.
The witnesses said Rodriguez facilitated the documents needed for the bidding and provided the cash to open a bank account under the name of the cooperatives.
A bank account is a requirement for a farmers’ cooperative to join the NFA bidding for the right to import rice.
The witnesses said Rodriguez also provided them with cash to open an account with Union Bank in Quezon City.
The witnesses named Echeveria as cosignatory of the bank account.
The witnesses said the cooperatives they represented won the bidding on March 27, 2012.
They said they were promised P8 per sack, but were given only P5 after winning the bidding.
The day before the bidding, they were in the house of Rodriguez in Parañaque to prepare all the documents.
The witnesses said they did not sleep the whole night to prepare the bidding documents.
“Early morning of March 26, we all went to the bidding site at the NFA office in Taguig City where the bidding was finished before lunch,” they said.
The winners were announced the following day.
The witnesses said that after a month, they were called back to the house of Rodriguez in Parañaque where they were made to sign an acknowledgment receipt under the name of Echeveria.
The receipt, they said, was to show that they had received money and all expenses in relation to the bidding documents.
According to the witness, Rodriguez paid for the cooperatives’ license fees, bonds and document form fees that the NFA had required.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the NBI earlier said that Tan and Bangayan were one and the same and that they had sufficient evidence to prove it.
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