By Nelson S. Badilla
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has filed criminal charges against six persons before the Department of Justice (DoJ) over P37.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes and onions.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña gave the go-signal to prosecute Marid Industrial Marketing owner Mark David Villanueva and the company’s licensed customs broker, Carmie Anna Rollon, for the illegal importation of P26,650,393.70 worth of cigarettes.
The two originally declared their imports as industrial fur. They were charged with violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
The other cases the BoC elevated to the DoJ were against Joseph Martin Arriesgado, proprietor of EAJM Enterprises; Manilou Hernandez, proprietor of Buensuceso Enterprise; their licensed customs broker Lorenz Mangaliman and Arvin Tagudi, owner of Epitome International Trading.
They were accused of illegally importing onions worth P11,109,874.52, a violation of both the CMTA and the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
The accused declared the onions as apples.