PPA personnel linked to oil smuggling probed | Inquirer News

PPA personnel linked to oil smuggling probed

The Bureau of Customs is looking into the alleged involvement of some Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) personnel in oil-smuggling activities in the PPA-run Port of Orion in Bataan province.

The BOC’s Intelligence Group (IG) has recommended in a report the investigation of the Port of Orion on “why it allowed the illegal use of the facility in the so-called paihi or patulo oil-smuggling scheme.”

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Under the scheme, crude oil and other petroleum products are illegally transferred from oil tankers to smaller vessels in the high seas and later stored in land-based depots that are operated by smuggling groups.

The IG is also considering filing obstruction charges against erring PPA personnel for allegedly preventing members of the Customs raiding team from apprehending suspected members of the oil-smuggling syndicate.

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The IG, headed by customs Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa, also called for the issuance of a warrant of seizure and detention, or WSD, against the 20,000 liters of smuggled diesel oil, estimated to be worth at least P700,000.

The IG reported that the wooden vessel used by the smugglers, as well as lorry or tanker filled with smuggled oil, were found at the Orion port.

Both the boat and the lorry have been moved to the nearby Port of Limay, where they are “being guarded by Customs operatives and Philippine Coast Guard personnel,” said Maj. Jovily Carmel Cabading, IG special operations officer.

The BOC started conducting oil-smuggling surveillance operations sometime in February in the ports of Orion, Sta. Elena and Limay, as well as the land-based oil depots along the stretch of the Roman Highway in the Bataan province

An initial IG investigation found that an undisclosed number of local fisherfolk were involved in the illegal activity, “one of their sources of income.”

On April 21, IG operatives finally chanced upon a wooden vessel that had just finished unloading smuggled fuel to a waiting tanker.

Members of the raiding team, however, failed to apprehend the crew of the vessel and the driver of the tanker.

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TAGS: Bataan, Oil Smuggling, Philippine Ports Authority, Port of Orion, PPA, PPA personnel, Smuggling
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