No release anymore of 85 containers of ‘hot’ rice
DAVAO CITY—The remaining 85 container vans of rice brought into this port without permit by a firm identified with suspected rice smuggler David Bangayan, aka “David Tan,” will no longer be released following the Supreme Court ruling that stopped the enforcement of a local court order preventing the customs bureau from seizing the rice shipment.
In a statement, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said the rice shipment of Starcraft International Trading Corp., a company linked to suspected smuggler Bangayan, would no longer be released as ordered by a local judge, Emmanuel Carpio, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 16.
“Now, with the Supreme Court’s TRO (temporary restraining order), the BOC can continue to hold the remaining 85 containers of rice imported by Starcraft that are being held at the Port of Davao,” Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla said in the BOC statement.
The BOC said it welcomed the Supreme Court ruling that stopped the enforcement of Carpio’s decision against the seizure of the illegally imported rice.
“This is good news for the Bureau of Customs and even better news for our farmers,” Sevilla said in the statement.
“The action taken by the Supreme Court should serve as a strong signal to judges that injunctions issued by the lower courts pertaining to rice importation without permits are, at the very least, questionable or suspect,” Sevilla added.
Sevilla said the BOC would challenge other court orders similar to Carpio’s. “We are committed to challenging court orders that favor illegal rice importations that, no doubt, have a devastating effect on our farmers,” he said.
The BOC was forced to release 167 container vans loaded with 3.34 tons of Vietnam rice from the city port last month due to the Carpio order.
Five officials of the customs bureau in General Santos City, meanwhile, have been removed from office for the release of four cars brought in without permit.
Ernesto Aradanas, Davao port collector, identified the five as subport collector and lawyer Aniceto Sanchez Jr., acting principal appraisers Quinciano Pavadora Jr. and Jamalodin Macadindang, customs examiner Moctar Amer and cargo control officer Ansari Saransaman Pundug.
The five are being investigated for other crimes, said Aradanas. “The investigation seeks to rid the subport of unscrupulous employees,” he said.
Aradanas said the officials were behind the release and transport of four brand new Toyota Prado sport utility vehicles from General Santos to Manila without any authority last month. Germelina Lacorte and Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao
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