BOC destroys 122 smuggled vehicles

Published May 30, 2018, 4:19 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Betheena Unite

The downpour Wednesday afternoon did not stop the Bureau of Customs from destroying over a hundred smuggled motorcycles and vehicles worth P37.41 million in Manila in a bid to prevent smugglers from getting the seized vehicles back through auctions.

The Bureau of Customs destroyed over a hundred smuggled motorcycles and vehicles worth P37.41 million at the Customs headquarters in Manila.(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)
The Bureau of Customs destroyed over a hundred smuggled motorcycles and vehicles worth P37.41 million at the Customs headquarters in Manila.(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Using a backhoe, a total of 122 smuggled vehicles — 116 motorcycles and six vehicles — were crashed and bulldozed at the Customs grounds with President Duterte and several government officials witnessing the third destruction of seized vehicles in the country.

The vehicles destroyed include 112 units of brand new Vespa scooters, used BMW motorcycle, Harley Davidson, two units of Triumph motorcycle, Mitsubishi Pajero, two units of Land Rover, and Volvo car. These, according to the bureau were seized at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), Port of Subic, and Port of Iloilo. They arrived on separate dates.

Two more vehicles — used 2002 Ford Ecoline and 2005 Ford Ecoline E350 — were also destroyed at the Port of Cebu on the same day.

Supercars not included

Missing on the vehicles that were destroyed were the previously seized supercars including McLaren and Ferrari, which are currently under litigation at the Law Division.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena said 24 luxury vehicles that were intercepted at the MICP are under litigation.

“I have directed those in charge of the case to facilitate the litigation of the 24 luxury cars. If the final decision of the case is in favor of the government, the same will happen to them. They will be destroyed,” Lapena said.

Eighteen of the 24 cars including 13 brand new Land Cruisers, two units of Chevrolet Camaro, two units of brand new Range Rover, and McLaren have been forfeited. However, the importer filed an appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals.

The remaining cars, Lapena furthered, are still under legal proceedings.

Stop fixing schemes

The bureau reiterated that the destruction of the vehicles aims to stop the fixing schemes of the smugglers conniving with some Customs employees in the usual public auction of seized cars.

It is also meant to send a stern warning to importers to pay the right tax for their vehicle importations “or have them crushed by a bulldozer.”

“The President’s order is clear, sending a very strong message to smugglers to stop what they have been doing. These smugglers have long been cheating the government. this has to stop,” Lapena said.

The Customs chief stressed that smugglers disguised as bidders during legitimate auction proceedings to get the seized vehicles back.

To date, the condemnation of vehicles on Wednesday was the third time under the Duterte administration.

On the first condemnation of smuggled vehicles, a total of 20 luxury vehicles seized at the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, and Port of Subic were destroyed in February in Manila. Another 10 smuggled vehicles were also crushed in Cebu and Davao on the same day.

The cars destroyed included Corvette Stringay, Lexus, BMW, Pajero, a several of Mercedez Benz, and Audi, among others.

In a matter of minutes, the luxury cars valued at P61,626,000 were bulldozed and reduced to roughly P1, 600 per vehicle.

Another set of smuggled cars, 14 vehicles in total, worth P27 million were also destroyed in Sta. Ana, Cagayan in March.

Among the destroyed cars were Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche 911 GT3, BMW Alpina B12, BMW Z1, Opel Manta, Renault 5, and eight Mercedes Benz cars.