Five Customs officials, car trader and several others charged for smuggling luxury cars

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Oct. 9 (PNA) — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday filed smuggling charges against several individuals including Customs personnel before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the attempt to smuggle 14 units of luxury vehicles trough the Port of Batangas last July.

Commissioner Alberto Lina led the filing of charges against Rolando A. Cuevas, owner/proprietor of Monacat Trading, with office address at Unit 2, Matic Building, National Highway, Canlalay, Biñan City, Laguna and residential address at 2915 Camia Street, Elvinda Village, San Pedro City Laguna; Mermelinda C. Dela Cruz, Manager; and Flaviano B. Dela Cruz, licensed customs broker, for misdeclaring and grossly underdeclaring the true and correct values of luxury vehicles.

Also charged were five officials and employees of the BOC Port of Batangas, namely Acting Assessor Eloisa P. Suarez; Acting COOIII Maricel A. Manguiat, COOIII Noralyn T. Asaria, Acting COOV Araceli Jasa, and Acting COOV Benjamin G. Manalo, Jr., for processing the declaration on the subject Import Entries and several John Doe/s and Jane Doe/s who directly and/or indirectly participated and who are instrumental to the said smuggling.

The shipments from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Hongkong and Japan, which arrived in two batches on July 10 and 18 consisted of brand new Ferrari 458 Speciale; 2015 brand new Mercedez Benz G63 AMG; 2015 brand new Toyota Prado; brand new Mc Laren MP4-12C OR 650S; brand new Toyota Land Cruiser GXR Bullet Proof; 2015 brand new Land Rover Defender 90; brand new Land Rover Range Rove; 2015 brand new Mercedes Benz CLK DTM AMG; brand new Toyota Land Cruiser GX V8 Sport; and 2015 brand new Mercedes Benz C63 AMG.

The respondents face charges of violations of Sections 3601 and 3602 in relation to Sections 2503 and 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code Philippines, as amended, and Article 172 or Falsification of the Revised Penal Code.

The top of the line motor vehicles were misdeclared as lesser classed branded motor vehicles.

At the same time, they were grossly undervalued at only USD 424,103.20 when true aggregate value was USD 1,123,346.30.

“We could have lost more than millions of pesos, had this modus – operandi not been unveiled,” said Lina. (PNA)