By Raymund Antonio
At least 105 containers vans filled with imported goods worth P69 million slipped through the Port of Manila under the nose of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña last weekend.
The shipments from China, containing ceramic tiles, diapers, and canned goods, were placed under alert order issued by the BOC chief, but it managed to get released at POM.
POM officials found the alerted containers were released without proper clearance when these were supposed to be examined on March 19.
In a press briefing, Lapeña said the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) is now conducting a probe on the incident.
“The containers were released without going through proper channels, and securing authorization and clearance to lift alert orders,” he said.
The commissioner said the Asian Terminals Inc. personnel involved in the release of alerted shipments will be investigated for possible “collusion” among importers and some Customs employees.
They could also recommend to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) the suspension or revocation of its license as a terminal operator.
The shipments were subjected to an alert order by Lapeña for an alleged violation of the Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
BOC identified the consignees of the shipments as Abundancegain Indent Trading Corp; Abundanceprime Chemicals Trading Corp; Cymar International Incorporated; Herco Trading Inc; and Imperial Foods and Agricultural Products.
Included are Megaabudancesteel Indent Trading Corp; Paragon Platinum International; Yanyan International Philippines Inc.; Premiere Oak Lumber and Wood Products; and Spectrum Highlands Marketing Corporation.
The BOC was able to track down the location of the 85 container vans from a warehouse of Homms Trading Corp. at Block 2, Lot 3, Phase 5 Sterling Industrial Park, Libtong, Meycauayan, Bulacan.
“Hopefully, we will be able to find more containers,” Lapeña said.
Effective immediately, the BOC revoked the accreditation of importers and brokers of the alerted shipments.
The brokers were identified as Bernadine Miranda, Mohamad Salman and Homaidi Sario Ibrahim.
“The appropriate charges will be filed against them,” the commissioner said.
Lapeña said he relieved POM Formal Entry Division acting chief Meliton Pascual and his assistant Evelyn Estur and other involved Customs employees