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26 May 2024, 02:10 AM

Customs Charges Oil Importer with Smuggling

April 16, 2010

The Bureau of Customs filed oil smuggling charges today against the officers of an oil importing company that defrauded the government of about P 700 million through an elaborate scheme of under-declaration and document falsification.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez identified the respondents as the following officers of Oillink International Corporation located at 2701 West Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Center, Ortigas Center, Pasig City : PAUL CHI TING CO – chairman and owner; ESTHER P. MAGLEO, president; and, JANICE CO REYES, importation and finance manager. Also included in the charge sheet are several JOHN DOE/S and JANE DOE/S, among them customs employees who allowed Oillink to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.

Alvarez said that based on documents provided by shipping company MALTESES MOTORSHIP HIGHLAND, Oillink imported from Korea a total of 221,244.82 barrels equivalent to 29,454.375 metric tons of GASOIL (more popularly known as diesel fuel). The whole shipment which arrived July 21, 2004 at Oillink’s terminal in Mariveles, Bataan had an equivalent volume of 35 million liters.

However, the volume that Oillink acknowledged and paid duties and taxes for totaled no more than 177,244.82 barrels or 23,596.644 metric tons, nearly 6,000 metric tons or 44,000 barrels less than the volume indicated in the ship’s Ullage or Surveyor Report submitted by the company Intertek Caleb Brett – KIMSCO of Korea.

Records showed that Oillink’s modus operandi was to break their shipment into five parcels covered by different bills of lading but pay duties and taxes for only four parcels.

The manipulation would come in the form of spurious documents that showed Oillink only imported parcels A to D. Obviously, Oillink did not declare parcel E reflected in the Tanker’s Time Sheet to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.

Among the documents submitted by Oillink were a Certificate of Discharge that showed MT Highland only discharged a total of 23,596.644 metric tons of GASOIL to the Oillink Terminal in Bataan and a Ship Tanks Ullage Report allegedly issued by Marine Inspection and Testing Services Inc. (MITS) indicating the same 23, 596.644 volume.

Unfortunately for Oillink, MITS, through its General Manager Manuel T. Tan, executed an affidavit that Oillink did not hire his company’s services to conduct survey on the tanker that brought in the subject oil importation on July 20, 2004 nor did it issue any report or certificate regarding the aforementioned cargo.

According to Alvarez, there was no doubt that Oillink submitted manufactured and falsified documents to consummate its smuggling activity.

Alvarez said that although this fraudulent importation happened in 2004, the case that was filed today was still a major breakthrough since it marked the first time that the BOC was able to uncover and document a pattern of deception and under-declaration that was most likely being practiced too by some other unscrupulous oil industry players.

“We may have just opened the proverbial pandora’s box here which could help expose some other oil industry players’ deeply-hidden skeletons and provide us with a better understanding as to how the syndicates involved in oil smuggling are able to cheat the government of billions of pesos,” Alvarez added.

Alvarez said this development would trigger a series of concerted actions on the part of the Bureau of Customs to make smuggling unprofitable.

He added that as far as the new leadership of the BOC was concerned, no crime against government coffers, no matter how long ago it was committed, could go unpunished.

Alvarez instructed Chavez to look into all the previous importations of Oillink and the new company being used by respondent PAUL CHI TING CO and company in its oil importation business to see if the same pattern was used and still being used by them.

He also instructed Chavez to file as soon as possible an amended charge sheet that would now include the names of customs employees in cahoots with oil smugglers.

Republic of the Philippines

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