Solon drops alleged ‘agri-smugglers’

A lawmaker on Monday disclosed the names of those allegedly linked to large-scale agricultural smuggling across the country’s multiple entry points during a House committee hearing, prompting the panel to issue a subpoena for a probe.

Sultan Kudarat Representative Horacio Suansing Jr., during Monday’s House Ways and Means panel hearing, identified the individuals and entities allegedly involved in agricultural smuggling and urged House panel chair Albay Rep. Joey Salceda to get in touch with the people he listed in light of the alarming reports of agricultural products being underdeclared or misdeclared imported into the nation.

Suansing said that a certain Michael Ma, Lujene Ang, Andrew Chang, Beverly Peres, Aaron, Manuel Tan, Leah Cruz, Jun Diamante, Lucio Lim, Gerry Teves, Victory JM Enterprises, Taculog International Consumer Goods Trading, Asterzenmed Aggregates, Veneta Consumer Goods Trading, Lalavy Aggregates Trading, Frankie Trading Enterprises, Primex Export, SB Express Logistics Business Solution, Silver Pop Dry Goods Trading, Thousand Sunny Enterprises, Viogelas Viol Aggregates Trading, Junezone Dry Goods Trading and Burias Jang Consumer Goods Trading are the individuals and entities allegedly involved in large-scale agricultural smuggling.

The lawmaker stressed that they will issue a subpoena to those included in his list.

“Given these alarming reports, and in the interest of forging and building credibility and confidence in our government processes and institutions, I believe that it is incumbent upon this Chamber to exercise its oversight functions to scrutinize data reported by our own government agencies, to reconcile these data with those reported by international and multilateral organizations, and to recommend legislation and remedial measures, whenever necessary,” Suansing said.

“Furthermore, in light of these reports, and in light of the innumerable reports on widespread, large-scale smuggling of agricultural commodities in the country, in due time, I, as principal author of House Resolution 311, would like to request the Committee on Ways and Means to issue subpoenas for the following brokers/importers/facilitators allegedly involved in large-scale agricultural smuggling in local ports in the Philippines,” he added.

Suansing also directed the Bureau of Customs to obtain the records and documentation of importer PilSHON Corporation, who allegedly smuggles cigarettes into the country’s local markets despite being declared for transshipment to Malaysia.

Salceda earlier said that the illicit scheme where a whooping million peso worth of products was first seized in the port of entry had prompted the Congressional probe as he also disclosed a scheme for smuggling of agricultural and sensitive imported products such as tobacco.

Citing the records he received from personal intelligence networks, the panel chair found that tobacco master cases that are due for seizure are instead being applied for transshipment permits with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

“What probably happens is that the shipment is declared for “transshipment” but actually leaks to the domestic market. That’s outright smuggling,” Salceda added.

While Customs officials said they were not in possession of records on the matter, Salceda supplied them with a seizure order on the 972 master cases, and a bill of lading for 1 container van containing 1,038 master cases are being applied for a transshipment permit.

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