Customs fixer Mark Taguba pleads ‘not guilty’ of drug importation

Marje Pelayo   •   April 27, 2018   •   3060

Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba

 

MANILA, Philippines — Customs broker Mark Ruben Taguba II entered a “not guilty” plea to the charges filed against him in connection with the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case in May of last year.

Taguba was arraigned on Friday, April 27, before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46.

Meanwhile, Eirene May Tatad, the consignee of the shabu shipment, refused to enter a plea to the drug charges in her arraignment. The court entered a “not guilty” plea for her.

RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa set the pre-trial hearing on May 25.

Meanwhile, the Court has issued a hold departure order against six foreign nationals involved in the case.

They are Chinese nationals Richard Chen, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong and Chen Rong Huan and two Taiwanese nationals Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun. —Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte prohibits Customs, airport personnel from opening, delaying COVID-19 vaccine supplies

Marje Pelayo   •   February 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte reminded Customs and airport personnel not to open or tamper with the shipment of COVID-19 vaccine supplies.

Likewise, the President stressed that concerned government agencies must not cause any delay in the transportation and distribution of the vaccines.

This was his call during a public address aired Monday night (February 8).

“Let me address every government worker. Lahat tayo. Do not delay and do not hinder or obstruct the smooth flow na nakikita ninyo from the time of the arrival to the time of clearance,” Duterte said.

Maybe ang trabaho lang ninyo Customs, magtingin. You have no business na buksan-buksan dyan. You’re not allowed to do that. I am not allowing you, anybody diyan sa airport na magbukas bukas,” he added.

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive next week.

Meanwhile, the President has authorized the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deploy its men to ensure the safe and fast transport of vaccine supplies across the country. 

“The PNP should provide escorts that would ensure the fastest way of, for the vaccines to arrive in their storage and even in the matter of transporting from one facility to the other. Ihatid doon sa mga local governments. The police will provide that kind of mobility,” he said.

Duterte reminded other government agencies not to interfere with the affairs of the National Task Force and stressed that only Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III are the only persons to “call the shots” in the vaccine rollout to ensure the smooth distribution of the vaccines to the people.

Customs seized P9.75B worth of smuggled goods in 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated an estimated P9.746 billion-worth of smuggled goods in 2020, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Tuesday.

Citing a report submitted by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF said the Customs bureau seized smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products in 150 out of 792 operations it conducted in the country’s ports last year.

“For the anti-smuggling effort of the BOC, the consolidated estimated value of seized shipments last year is P9.746 billion, of which P5.217 billion are from seizures of cigarettes and tobacco, P1.85 billion are from drugs seizure and P1.02 billion from counterfeit items,” Guerrero told Dominguez during a recent Executive Committee meeting.

The confiscated tobacco products made up 53.5 percent of the total amount of goods seized by the BOC during this period, Guerrero said.

Aside from tobacco products and illegal drugs, the BOC also seized P32.59 million-worth of various types of currencies from January to December 2020.

General merchandise worth P403.89 million, vehicles and automobile accessories valued at P354.53 million, and agricultural products amounting to about P207.7 million were also apprehended by the BOC, Guerrero said.

The BOC also seized personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and cosmetics worth P195.57 million; jewelry and other products, P69 million; foodstuff, P212 million; used clothing, P130.59 million; electronics goods, P31.07 million; steel products, P4.76 million; alcoholic beverages, P2.43 million; chemicals, P5 million; and firearms, P300,000.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 28 last year, Guerrero said the BOC filed 74 criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 268 respondents suspected of smuggling, and another 52 administrative cases before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

As of Dec. 4, 2020, the BOC also ordered the closure of 20 customs-bonded warehouses (CBWs) and 40 members of customs common bonded warehouses (CCBWs) for various violations, Guerrero said.

“In 2020, the BOC already completed the inspection and investigation of a total of 150 Customs Bonded Warehouses and 247 Members of CCBWs,” Guerrero said.

Dominguez previously ordered the BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue to intensify their respective operations against smugglers and tax evaders despite the mobility restrictions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

BOC to OFWs: patronize legit forwarding companies only

Maris Federez   •   October 8, 2019

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday (October 8) advised overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to send balikbayan boxes through legitimate forwarding companies only.

The customs bureau issued the warning in light of the expected influx of balikbayan boxes that OFWs will send to their families these BER months.

Customs assistant commissioner Atty. Vincent Philippi Maronilla said they will install modern x-ray scanners in all the container ports in the country to determine the contents of the balikbayan boxes faster.

The BOC said availing of the services of legitimate forwarding companies will prevent hitches from happening.

“Ang suggestion namin pumili sila ng mga kumpanya na reptuble na. Meaning iyong mga may customer service hotline, may natatawagan sila kapag nagkaproblema,” said Maronilla.

The BOC also stressed that they are strictly implementing the “No Open Policy” on balikbayan boxes.

“Never po na ang Customs nagbubukas ng balikbayan box,” he added.

The customs bureau also reminded the OFWs to only put an adequate number of items inside the box, and that these items, such as soaps, chocolates, and gadgets are not for commercial use.

The BOC further said that the maximum total amount of items in the balikbayan boxes that will be tax-free is only up to P150,000.

The exceeding amount will carry applicable tax rates.

The customs bureau urges the concerned individuals to forward their complaints and queries to any of the following BOC hotlines and website:

  • BOC- CARES HOTLINE
  • HOTLINE- (632) 705- 6000
  • MOBILE NOS. 0905- 299-7977/ 0929- 503- 5138
  • EMAIL: boc.cares@customs.gov.ph

 (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

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