A misdeclared shipment with P20-million worth of iPhone cellular phones and dry goods were uncovered again at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) by Bureau of Customs (BOC) agents on Sunday, 5 February.

Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon reported that the cargo was consigned to Autum Way Enterprises with address at Room 4160D 4F Regina Building, Escoltra Street, Binondo, Manila. A certain Mario R. Botona, Jr., with address at No. 12 Fairlane Street, West Fairview, Quezon City, was the signing licensed customs broker.

Said shipment was initially put on alert after Atty. Zsae Carrie de Guzman of the Intellectual Property Rights Division received derogatory reports for possible violation of Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. The shipment was placed under surveillance for a week until it arrived last 12 January from China on board vessel Elba Island V. 1700IS loaded in container van number DFSU7314434 under bill of lading 713610315074.

Faeldon said that the shipment was put on hold through alert order number A/OCOM-COMCEN/20170113-033 on request by Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group lawyer Teddy Sandy S. Raval.

Upon examination, the IPRD Team has found more or less 400 pieces of iPhones surreptitiously hidden and concealed in sacks which were co-mingled with the declared goods.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director and BOC Spokesperson Neil L. Estrella, quoting an intelligence report, said that the shipment was originally declared to contain wall clock M2423C color black shape round, furniture shoe rack model PYHF001 size 60, fabric model 1313 style twill density 60×6, shoes: Marlin shoes upper material.

“The flagrant attempts of crooked importers to smuggle high-value communication items through misdeclaration will definitely be checked by BOC, and both the importer and broker will end up facing sanctions without prejudice from possible criminal charges that we will file in courts,” he said.

Section 1401 (e) of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016 states that the penalty of misdeclaration is imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day but not more than twelve (12) years, or a fine of not less than one million five hundred thousand pesos (₱1,500,000.00) but not more than fifteen million pesos (₱15,000,000.00), or both, if the appraised value of the goods unlawfully imported, to be determined in the manner prescribed under the Act, including duties and taxes, exceeds five million pesos (₱5,000,000.00) but not more than fifty million pesos (₱50,000,000.00).

“It is glaring that there is a possible violation of Section 1400 in relation to Section 1113 of Republic Act 10863, and BOC has to seize it for further investigation and filling of appropriate charges,” Estrella said.

On Tuesday at 10 am, Commissioner Faeldon led the opening of the container van for actual viewing/presentation to media. Media coverage is requested. ###