Gov’t steps up crackdown against big-time smugglers, transport operators using “kambal-plaka”

Published April 5, 2018, 6:10 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government is stepping up the crackdown against big-time smugglers and transport operators using “kambal-plaka” or twin vehicle plates.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech during the 16th founding anniversary of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development, Inc. (STCPD) at the 3rd Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Calinan, Davao City on March 23, 2018, criticizes the idea of a coalition government proposed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for he believes that it would bypass the democratic process of electing a leader which is chosen by the people. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Duterte has ordered authorities to file economic sabotage charges against any person or company smuggling goods worth above P50 million into the country.

The President warned that suspected smugglers would be thrown in jail without bail pending their trial. The same strategy will be applied to those illegally using twin or multiple identical motor plates, according to the President.

“I’m going to categorize its importation above P50 million an act of economic sabotage. So if you are caught doing it, committing the crime or about the commit, or in fact committed the crime and you are apprehended there somewhere, you will be arrested and you will be detained to face trial,” he said during the awarding of outstanding farmers and fisherfolk in Malacañang.

“And if it’s more than P50 million, no bail so you rot in prison,” he added.

In the same speech, the President directed law enforcement authorities to apprehend those involved in the kambal-plaka “racket” in the country.

He expressed concern that some transport operators have applied for a franchise but duplicated the motor plate for other unauthorized vehicles.

“Pag nahuli ko kayo at nahuli kayo ng [If I catch you or you are caught by the] highway patrol, LTO (Land Transportation Office), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) or the police, you will go straight to prison,” he said.

“I will not allow you to go out until the case is filed in court. I will charge you for economic sabotage and there will be no bail for you. Lahat kayo [All of you],” he added.

With the intensified campaign against smugglers and illegal public transport operators, the President has directed the country’s incoming Philippine National Police chief chief Oscar Albayalde to prepare a bigger prison for the lawbreakers.

Duterte also told Albayalde, the National Capital Region Police Office director, not to feed these inmates while in prison.

“And sabi ko sa kanya na lakihan mo ‘yung presuhan mo kasi isaksak ko lahat kayo diyan. Huwag kayong bumili ng pagkain kasi huwag ninyong pakainin ‘yung…Sila ang magbili ng sarili nilang pagkain [I told him to prepare a bigger prison because I will place them all there. Don’t buy food anymore, don’t feed them. They should buy their own food],” he said.

Duterte said he tried to be the patient but could no longer bear with those who violate the law. He also offered no apologies for being strict in his peace and order campaign.

“I am not the pardoning type. Hindi naman kasi ako pari [I am not a priest],” he said.

“I’ve been trying for the last so many months to be just be patient and parang good boy lang. Eh ‘di mag-bad boy tayo ‘no. Madali lang man ‘yan [like a good boy so I’d rather be a bad boy. It’s easy] All you have to do is to change your attitude. Tutal the language is there already and I do not apologize for it,” he said.

“There’s no apology asked here. I am what I am and you are what you are,” he added.