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Court resets arraignment of Customs broker Mark Taguba

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, 9 February 2018 08:45 PM

MANILA, Philippines —Friday’s arraignment of Customs broker Mark Taguba over his drug smuggling case was canceled.

His lawyer asked the court for a postponement due to a pending petition before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46 Presiding Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa reset the arraignment to February 23.

Taguba’s lawyer insisted that his client is innocent in the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“All the way until it was delivered, Mark did not know what the content of that container was. So it’s a pity the DOJ indicted him in this case though his role is very minimal,” said Atty. Raymond fortune, legal counsel of Taguba.

The Department of Justice is directed to comment on Taguba’s appeal for continued detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

His lawyer explained that it could not be denied there are people who would want to harm Taguba once he is transferred to the Manila City jail due to his testimony before the Senate hearings.

He noted that some of the persons whom Taguba implicated in drug smuggling and anomalies in the customs bureau have already lost their positions.

“It’s not a secret at all, it’s actually pretty well known it’s to easy to get a person, pay him, from inside the jail to harm a fellow detainee,” said Fortun.

Taguba remains under NBI custody but the chief of the NBI detention cell has been directed by the court to explain the failure to deliver him to the city jail as ordered since last Friday.

Judge Montesa said that this sends a wrong message to the public because it would appear that court orders can be defied and high-profile accused is given special treatments.

Meanwhile, the court has also directed the transfer of alleged shabu shipment consignee Eirene Mae Tatad to the Manila City jail.

Tatad is also under NBI custody after she was arrested while on a vacation in Iloilo. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue


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BOC assures to restore majority of files destroyed by fire

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, 23 February 2019 03:47 PM

Bureau of Customs located at Port Area, Manila

(UPDATED) The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Manila will temporarily transfer its operations to the Customs’ gymnasium in South Harbor, Manila after a huge fire razed its building on Friday night.

Customs District Collector Rhea Gregorio on Saturday said the operations of the Formal Entry Division of the Port of Manila (POM) will be moved to the BOC’s gymnasium to ensure that its services will not be disrupted.

The fire that started around 9 p.m. at BOC’s POM building on Friday destroyed the third and fourth floors of the building, according to Gregorio.

She added that officials are hoping that the fire incident would not lead to delays in the release of shipments.

The BOC-Manila is currently coordinating with Asian Terminals Inc., and other nearby government offices, particularly the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to temporarily use their facilities to continue their operations.

Gregorio also assured the public that while the hard copies of the documents have been destroyed by the fire, they would be able to restore majority of their records in time.

This is through their computerized system and the duplicate copies of some of the documents.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the blaze was put out at around 7 a.m. Saturday. Investigators are yet to provide details about the extent of the damage and the cause of fire. — Robie de Guzman

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Fire hits BOC building in Manila

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:34 AM

Fire hits the Bureau of Customs building in the Port of Manila | Photo credit: Philippine Red Cross

MANILA, Philippines — Flames engulfed the Bureau of Customs building at the Port of Manila on Friday night, February 22.

At least 30 firetrucks and several ambulances rushed to the site to battle the fire, according to BOC spokesperson, Erastus Austria.

“[We are] still determining [from] which office the fire originated,” Austria said in a series of messages sent to reporters.

“We are securing our personnel as of the moment,” he added.

The fire, which started around 9 p.m., reached fifth alarm past 10 p.m., according to the Bureau of Fire Protection Manila.

Thick smoke billowed and bright flames razed the top portion of the BOC building in Manila | Photo credit: Jirume Monta/BOC-PIO

Meanwhile, a lawmaker urged Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to conduct an in-depth investigation into the incident.

Misamis Oriental Second district Representative Juliet Uy, said in a statement that Año should assign the best arson investigators on the case to thoroughly and scientifically investigate the cause of the fire.

“Given the notoriety of the Bureau of Customs for graft and corruption, it is understandable for the public to be skeptical about the cause of fire that has razed the offices of the Bureau of Customs at the Manila Bay Port Area,” the statement read.

“Their investigation must be meticulous, thorough and scientific,” she added.

Uy, a member of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety, also expressed hope that the fire will cause only minimal disruptions in BOC operations, especially at the Port Area which involves the business sector and the flow of goods in and out of the Manila harbor.

“Perhaps some of the operations can be transferred to the Manila International Container Port,”she suggested. “Maybe, if necessary, some shipments can be diverted to the Subic Bay or Batangas Port,” she concluded.

DILG Sec. Año has yet to issue any comment on the matter. — Robie de Guzman

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BOC hauls millions worth of fake branded goods, luxury car

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 1 February 2019 11:14 AM

Fake branded apparel valued at P700 million were seized by authorities from a warehouse in
Binondo, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Tight customs screening yielded millions of pesos worth of fake branded goods and a luxury car in two separate operations by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

A shipment, which arrived in the country on December 17, 2018, was declared to contain a forklift, a diesel engine and various household goods.

But the x-ray machine revealed what’s truly inside the shipment — a luxury sports car and a truck.

It was shipped from Japan and consigned to Pulilan Motors Truck Rebuilding.

BOC Spokesperson Atty. Erastus Dino Austria said they might destroy or auction the seized vehicles depending on the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We can auction it and the proceeds will be in favor of the government,” Austria said.

The owner of the shipment and customs broker Tomas James delos Santos are now facing charges for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Meanwhile, customs agents inspected two units inside a warehouse of clothes in Binondo, Manila.

Authorities discovered some fake or imitations of a signature clothing brand being manufactured in the area.

Authorities were able to raid the warehouse after a representative of the known sports brand tipped the information.

Around 2,5000 sacks of various fake branded apparel valued at P700 million were seized by authorities.

The BOC continues its investigation to arrest the person responsible for such illegal manufacture of goods in violation of Republic Act 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

“After ma-process ito ang ginagawa natin dito is destruction. Kasi nga hindi pwedeng auction, hindi rin pwedeng i-donate kasi considering na these are fake items,” explained Customs commissioner Guerrero.

“If these are allowed to end up in the hands of consumers, this will greatly affect ang mga brand owners,” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from JL Asayo)

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