Steel trader sues 2 DTI execs for graft
A Subic businessman has sued two Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials before the Office of the Ombudsman over the recall of the import clearance on his shipment of Chinese steel bars.
The case arose from the DTI regional office’s Dec. 8 recall of the final import commodity clearance (ICC) issued on Nov. 29, pending verification that the shipment of 20,025.88 metric tons of deformed steel bars meets regulations.
In a 12-page complaint-affidavit, Mannage Resources Trading Corp. (MRTC) president Lawrence Daniel Sy accused DTI Region 3 director Judith Angeles and Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) assistant director Marimel Porciuncula of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Anti-Red Tape Act.
Sy insisted that the steel shipment already complied with BPS standards and the requirements under Department Administrative Order 05:2008, hence the initial issuance of the final ICC on Nov. 29.
Yet, he said Angeles’ office withdrew the final ICC unilaterally, even as Department Administrative Order 02:2007 required an investigation and a hearing before the penalties can be meted out.
According to the complaint, the Dec. 8 letter recalled the final ICC without stating a clear reason. It noted that a Dec. 14 letter would only later explain that a Nov. 23 report by the DTI Region 3 inspection team found more than 50 percent of the steel bundles had no tags and the steel bars were not stored in a covered area.
But even this was supposedly “belied” by Angeles’ Dec. 1 letter quoting the regional inspection team’s Nov. 23 report that “the said import shipments have been found to be in order.”
“Clearly, there was no issue as regards the quality and standards of the imported shipment as attested by no less than public respondent Angeles,” the complaint read.
For Sy, this was an act that constitutes deliberate manifest partiality or evident bad faith.
He added that the reputation of MRTC “had clearly been besmirched” by several news outlets that reported the withdrawal of the final ICC, because the firm received calls from concerned buyers having second thoughts about the quality of its products.
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