The Bureau of Customs, through the initiative of Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, filed on July 6 before the Department of Justice five (5) criminal charges against the consignees and licensed customs brokers involved in the illegal importation of P11,109,874.52 worth of onions which arrived at the Manila International Container Port in April this year.

The accused are facing charges for violation of Sections 1400 and 1401 of Republic Act No. 10863 otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to Republic Act No. 10845 otherwise known as “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016”.

Among the respondents of the criminal complaints are:

Joseph Martin E. Arriesgado, sole proprietor of EAJM Enterprises, Manilou A. Hernandez, sole proprietor of Buensuceso Enterprise and its licensed customs broker Lorenz V. Mangaliman, and Arvin V. Tugadi, sole proprietor of Epitome International Trading.

The cases stemmed from the joint spot checking of 6×40’ reefer containers in Manila International Container Port spearheaded by Commissioner Lapeña and Secretary Manny Piñol of the Department of Agriculture, wherein the subject containers declared as fresh apples were found to contain fresh onions.

The Bureau has likewise filed a criminal complaint against the owner of Marid Industrial Marketing, Mark David G. Villanueva, and its licensed customs broker Carme Ann S. Rollon, for the unlawful importation of P26, 650, 393.70 worth of cigarettes, originally declared as industrial artificial fur texture, in clear violation of Sections 1401 and 1403 in relation to Section 1400 of the CMTA.

Commissioner Lapeña has repeatedly emphasized that the Bureau shall remain steadfast and relentless in its effort in curbing all sorts of reprehensible smuggling activities.

To all these, the Customs chief has forewarned that more cases will be filed by the Bureau of Customs against importers, brokers, and other unscrupulous individuals involved in the smuggling of agricultural products and other commodities into the country.###

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