CTA clears 6 watch importers of smuggling

Published October 4, 2020, 2:08 PM

by Jun Ramirez

The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has cleared six wristwatch importers of smuggling charges for the failure of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Acquitted of smuggling conspiracy for bringing in 413 pieces of G-Shock were Zenaida Valencia, Jennifer Valencia, Edward Ochave, Genevieve Ochave, and Clarisse Karingal, all of Diliman, Quezon City, and Edmund Discutido of Cavite.

Records showed that the wristwatches valued at P6.3 million were placed in six boxes which also contained grocery items, toys, shoes, shirts, and handbags.

They were declared as personal effects with no commercial value upon arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Bahrain on Aug. 12, 2014.

The prosecutors said the contraband was misdeclared to escape payment of more than P1 million in taxes and duties.

In a 27-page resolution, the court’s Second Division stated BoC lawyers were not able to establish that the consignees had the knowledge and actively participated in the misdeclaration of the shipment.

It added that respondents did not prepare the Sender’s Manifest Declaration and Packing List but the broker.

The resolution, penned by Associate Justice Jean Marie Bacorro-Villena, stated that in a criminal case, the plaintiff is duty bound to show the guilt of the accused and not for the accused to prove his innocence.