Deputy Customs Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, executive director of the Run-After-The-Smugglers (RATS) Group of the Bureau of Customs, brushed off the graft charge filed against him and two other Customs employees by a major importer of steel of products as “a desperate attempt to gain public sympathy in the light of reports that the smuggling case the BOC filed against the company would soon be resolved by the Department of Justice.”

Last January 20, recalled Chavez, the BOC sued Sanyo Seiki Steel Corporation for misdeclaring, underweighing and undervaluing its steel and stainless steel importations by almost 90 percent.

According to Chavez, Sanyo Seiki’s various importations last year were worth over P1.3 billion but the company declared the same as having an aggregate value of only P165.4 million.

According to Alvarez, Sanyo Seiki used false and spurious invoices to bring down its tax and duty obligations to the government from P179.4 million to only P25.3 million.

The sins of misdeclaration, underweighing and undervaluation were detected by the RATS Team with the help of an informant and validated through the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s value reference data on the true prevailing market prices of the subject imported products.

Chavez described as preposterous and baseless the claim of Sanyo Seiki Steel Corporation that on January 30 this year, people allegedly demanded P179 million from Sanyo Seiki president Gregory Chan in exchange for the dismissal of the smuggling case because:

  1. The P179 million represents the total claim of the Bureau of Customs against Sanyo Seiki for deficiency in duties and taxes now pending before the Department of Justice;
  2. The dismissal or filing of criminal cases against the President of Sanyo Seiki is well within the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, not the Bureau of Customs.

Chavez expressed confidence that available documentary evidence gathered by the RATS Group against Sanyo Seiki would be enough to prove that Sanyo Seiki misused and abused its warehousing privileges to defraud the government of much-needed revenues.