6 Customs officials relieved amid sugar smuggling probe

Six Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials from the Port of Subic were relieved for their supposed involvement in the alleged smuggling of sugar, Malacañang announced.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) relieves six officials for alleged smuggling of sugar at the Port of Subic. (OPS)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said the order came after the BOC busted an attempt to smuggle some 140,000 bags of imported sugar from Thailand, equivalent to 7,000 metric tons, at the Port of Subic on August 18.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) relieves six officials for alleged smuggling of sugar at the Port of Subic. (OPS)

Reading from an Office Order from Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz dated August 22, Angeles said the following Customs officials were "temporarily transferred" to the Commissioner's Office pending an investigation on the issue:

  • Maritess Theodossis Martin, district collector
  • Maita Sering Acevedo, deputy collector for assessment
  • Giovanni Ferdinand Aguillon Leynes, deputy collector for operations
  • Belinda Fernando Lim, chief of the assessment division
  • Vincent Mark Solamin Malasmas, Enforcement Security Service (ESS) commander
  • Justice Roman Silvoza Geli, CIIS supervisor

The initial probe conducted by the BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) indicated that the sugar importation used a "recycled permit," meaning an import permit already used in an old sugar allocation.

According to Angeles, heads may roll at the BOC if evidence showed that any of its port personnel were in connivance with smugglers using recycled sugar import permits.

On August 18, the BOC averted the possible smuggling of 7,021 metric tons of sugar from Thailand after it learned that the import permit used for the cargo was "recycled."

They found the cargo vessel MV Bangpakaew to be loaded with 7,021 metric tons of Thailand white refined sugar. This is equivalent to 140,000 bags with a total tax payment valued at P45,623,007.51.

The initial probe showed that the consignee of the smuggled sugar is Oro-Agritrade Inc. under the account of ARC Refreshments Corp. under Entry Nos. C-12513 and C-12521.

The Thai exporter is listed as Ruamkamlarp Export Co. Ltd, while the local customs broker was identified as Malou Leynes Buerano.

The BoC-CIIS reported that the cargo is covered by a "Special Permit to Discharge (SPD) and Verified Single Administrative Document (SAD)" from BOC and with a verified clearance from the SRA thru a certain Mr. Rondell Manjarres.