Lawmen intercepted on Thursday a container van containing three luxury cars that were declared to be used utility vehicles, according to the presidential antismuggling Task Force Subic, headed by Jose Calimlim, Freeport Services Corp. president.
Calimlim, who led the interception operation, said three luxury cars, worth more than P3 million, were about to be smuggled out of the free port when operatives of Task Force Subic seized the 40-foot container at the Naval Supply Depot Container Yard.
He said the container van was part of a 20-container van shipment consigned to Bayshore General Merchandise & General Services Corp., an automobile trading company at the free port, headed Reynaldo C. Nadar as president.
“This kind of modus operandi falls under technical smuggling,” Calimlim explained. “[Smugglers] usually cover the luxury cars with an authorized secondhand import permit.”
Calimlim, former head of the antismuggling Task Force Aduana, said the seizure confirmed information that there are plans afoot to import luxury cars through the free port.
“The task force has secured the Subic seaport in anticipation of the additional smuggled luxury cars,” he said. “Our information is that these are not just Mercedez Benzes, but also BMWs and Ferraris from Europe, transshipped either via China or Hong Kong. We will be checking strictly all vessels arriving at the free-port zone.”
The Task Force Subic was created via Executive Order 384, signed by President Arroyo on November 8, and includes the Bureau of Customs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Intelligence Service of the AFP.
But Boy Nadar, brother of the Bayshore president, denied knowing about the foiled smuggling attempt and claimed the shipment belonged to a certain Eupemia.
“I am the processor of the shipment and if we had known that the shipment was a misdeclaration, we might not have processed and claimed the shipment,” he said.
Nadar said there were 10 to 15 consignees for the 20 container vans that will be shipped from Japan to Subic. Some of these vans arrived on November 26, the rest are still on their way to the free port. The Customs issued a warrant of detention and seizure order for the seized luxury cars.
The lawyer Tita Zamoramos, the newly appointed Customs collector for the Port of Subic who accompanied Calimlim during the seizure operation, said the three cars were a two-door Mercedez Benz, a Mitsubishi Delica and a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.
The Mercedez was declared to be worth $550.00 (P30,800) but its assessment value is $34,000 (P1.9 million), the Delica was declared to be worth $450.00 (P25,200) and the Prado was declared at $550.00 (P30,800).
The shipping manifest said the van contained two 10-seater diesel utility vehicle and one used passenger van with a total declared value of $1,550 (P86,800).
Zamoramos, who replaced sacked Collector Arnel Alcaraz, said the Customs is confident that smuggling will eventually be minimized in the free port.
She was district collector in Northern Mindanao when she first worked with Calimlim in the defunct Task Force Aduana during the Estrada administration.
“With the help of conscientious and dedicated people, I am sure [the Customs] can solve technical smuggling in Subic,” Zamoramos added