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16 June 2024, 22:18 PM

Importer Convicted for Agricultural Smuggling

September 30, 2023

The Metropolitan Trial Court – National Judicial Capital Region Branch 24 rendered its verdict on September 8, 2023, declaring Divina Bisco Aguilar, the proprietor of Real Mart, guilty of violating Customs laws by misdeclaring a shipment of carrots as frozen pastry buns. This conviction resulted from a criminal complaint filed by the BOC on September 10, 2020, with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The case stems from an incident that occurred on June 26, 2020, when a shipment consigned to Real Mart arrived at the BOC – Port of Manila from Singapore. The consignee, owned by Divina Bisco Aguilar, declared the shipment to contain 2,500 cartons of frozen pastry buns. However, suspicions were raised when a derogatory report was received by the Port of Manila, prompting a physical examination of the shipment.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that the shipment did not contain frozen pastry buns as declared, but instead, it contained misdeclared carrots, a clear violation of Customs regulations. Subsequently, a warrant of seizure and detention was issued against the shipment, and appropriate charges were filed against the owner of Real Mart.

The legal battle that followed involved years of preliminary investigation and court hearings. Finally, on September 8, 2023, the Metropolitan Trial Court – National Judicial Capital Region Branch 24 rendered its verdict, finding the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for violation of Section 1401 in relation to Sections 102 and 1400 of Republic Act No. 10863, commonly known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The accused has been sentenced to a prison term of three (3) years and one (1) day to four (4) years.

In another incident, the BOC filed two (2) criminal complaints with the DOJ on September 8 and 15, 2023. These cases involve the misdeclaration of various goods from Korea without approved clearance from the Food and Drug Administration and the exportation of a universal CT tester with a falsified General Authorization Certificate. These incidents are in violation of relevant provisions of the CMTA.

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