Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1,910 container vans and 1,866 vehicles are missing as BOC conducted inventory in Subic recently

Conspiracy eyed in missing shipments
by Joel E. Zurbano - manilastandardtoday.com

The Bureau of Customs will recommend the filing of criminal charges against 10 private inviduals in connection with the disappearance of 1,1910 container vans just as it begins investigation on yet another case of missing articles.

Customs chief investigator Fernandino Tuason said that 10 private individuals will be included in the charge sheet, on top of the 16 Customs officials and personnel who could be liable for the missing container vans. He added the the private individuals were part of a grand conspiracy to “defraud government of duties and taxes through smuggling via the transshipment operations.”

While Tuason admitted that the private individuals have abandoned their listed addresses, he said he was hopeful they would eventually be arrested.

“We are now coordinating with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) and Department of Trade and Industry for audit and to provide us immediately with any information that they will be encountering with these people...warrants of arrest will be issued against these people if criminal charges will be pursued,” he said.

Refusing to name names pending the approval of his report submitted Thursday to Commissioner Angelito Alvarez, Tuason also hinted at possible conspiracy charges against Customs officials and employees suspected of involvement in the case.

Depending on recommendations made by the Customs legal office, Tuason said charges of dishonesty, gross neglect, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service are just some of the cases being readied against the Customs officials and personnel who could be part of the conspiracy.

But on the same day Tuason’s recommendations were submitted to Alvarez, the Commissioner ordered an investigation, this time on a case of missing imported vehicles.

According to Alvarez, the vehicles which were supposed to be in the possession of locators in the Subic Bay Freeport, went missing in 2007.

“It happened in the past administration. October 2007. We conducted an inventory recently and our worst fear has been confirmed that out of the 2,000 vehicles, 1,866 are missing,” said Alvarez.

Alvarez, however, failed to describe what type of vehicles were reported missing, saying they’re “still checking it.”

He said he directed his men to “coordinate closely with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Land Transportation Office and importers, as well as locators for the export documents. But we have reasons to believe that many have been registered with the LTO.”

The Customs chief said before, locators have privilege to import vehicle but with the understanding it will be used for their business. “But there were information that the vehicles were being sold outside.”

“When we conducted an audit over 1,800 cannot be accounted, so either the vehicles were re-exported which is allowed or registered with the LTO within Customs territory,” said Alvarez.

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Explain missing vehicles, 40 locators told
By Robert Gonzaga - Inquirer Central Luzon

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A top customs official on Friday gave 40 Subic locators a week to explain how 1,800 imported secondhand vehicles had vanished while under their custody.

“We are requiring these locators to account for the missing vehicles in their yards. They have to submit documents to explain where these vehicles are now, or else face charges,” Errol Albano, chief of the Bureau of Customs at the Subic port, told the Inquirer.

The missing vehicles were part of the 2,907 used cars inventoried by officials in 2007. These were placed in storage yards by their owners after the government banned the sale of imported secondhand vehicles. The ban, contained in Executive Order No. 156 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2007, was in compliance with new tariff agreements that took effect that year.

However, a new inventory, conducted by the Bureau of Customs and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, could no longer account for the 1,800 used cars, Albano said.

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