By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, Feb. 3 (PNA) –- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday arrested businessman Davidson Bangayan after attending a Senate inquiry into rice smuggling during which he was cited for contempt for allegedly lying under oath before the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
The arrest was made by the NBI agents outside the Senate session hall after the hearing.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima, however, clarified that the arrest of Davidson Bangayan was not based on his link in the rice smuggling issue, but on violation of the Anti-Electricity Pilferage Act. The case is pending at the Caloocan City Regional Trial Court (RTC)
”We cannot do that (the arrest) here (in the Senate) out of respect to this honorable committee, but after the hearing, the NBI will arrest him outside,” De Lima earlier told the Senate panel chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar.
De Lima said a representative of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has come out and officially identified Davidson Bangayan as David Tan.
The DOJ chief also said they have new witnesses who testified that “Davidson Bangayan and David Tan are one and the same person.”
De Lima said the DOJ also based the arrest from Bangayan’s own libel complaint against Jesus Aranza in 2005 wherein Bangayan admitted that he is Davidson Bangayan a.k.a. David Tan, a name linked to big-time smuggling in the country.
Bangayan kept on denying to the Senate panel that he is David Tan, saying his lawyer made a mistake in filing the complaint.
Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile used the same copy of the libel complaint to move to cite Bangayan for contempt.
Senator JV Ejercito seconded the motion, prompting Villar to suspend the inquiry and to decide among panel members the motion of Enrile.
After the meeting, Villar announced that the Senate panel has cited Bangayan for contempt, but without holding him at the Senate detention room.
”We are not holding him here because he is attending the hearing. We only arrest those who are not attending,” Villar clarified.
Villar, however, warned Bangayan that the Senate will not hesitate to arrest him if he will not attend the future Senate investigations.
As chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Villar also directed the Senate legal counsel to file perjury charges against Bangayan before Friday.
”We are also directing the DOJ and the Bureau of Immigration to include Bangayan in the watchlist and the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his passport,” Villar said.
De Lima said the DOJ has already ordered the BI to put Bangayan in the watchlist order.
During the Senate inquiry, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also identified Bangayan as David Tan.
Rodrigo told the committee that Davidson Bangayan has allegedly wide connection in the smuggling of rice. (PNA)