Senate panel sees link of Davidson Bangayan to rice smuggling

January 23, 2014 8:54 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 22 (PNA) – Businessman Davidson Bangayan has denied that he is David Tan, a named linked to rice smuggling, but a Senate panel found that Bangayan is connected to companies involved in illegal importation of rice.

”I don’t have to prove that Davidson Bangayan is David Tan because Bangayan himself was connected in rice smuggling,” Sen. Cynthia Villar told the media on Wednesday after the Senate committee on agriculture inquiry into the alleged rice smuggling in the country.

Villar used a powerpoint presentation to show the relation of Bangayan to corporations which used farmers' cooperatives to acquire import permits from the National Food Authority (NFA).

”That can be their practice, but for me it’s against the law for these companies to use farmers' cooperatives to import rice,” Villar said.

Villar said based on records, Adolphe Trading, which is involved in rice importation, is holding office at the Unit 401 Prestige Tower in Pasig City where Bangayan received a subpoena from the Senate.

Bangayan claimed Adolphe has already transferred to Caloocan City.

”As per record of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Adolphe is holding office in your unit. You should remember that you are under oath to tell the truth in this committee hearing,” Villar warned Bangayan.

Villar said Willy Sy, one of those charged along with David Tan in connection with rice smuggling, worked as employee of Adolphe Trading and three other Bangayan companies which are holding office at Maredeco Compound in Buklod ng Nayon in Caloocan City.

”As far I’m concerned, we have established the connection of Bangayan to rice smuggling,” Villar stressed.

Villar also believed that Sy is not a mere employee of Bangayan but a business partner.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said initial results of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe show that Bangayan and David Tan “are one and the same person.”

De Lima said the NBI traced the link from Bangayan’s addresses, courts records in Calamba and Caloocan where Bangayan used David Tan as alias.

Villar has urged De Lima to issue an opinion on the current practice where the rice traders use import permits issued to the farmers cooperatives to import rice.

In the same hearing, Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner John Philip Sevilla said a total of 1,822 container vans containing rice are now being held due to questionable documents.

Sevilla said about 350 container vans belong to Starcraft International Trading Corp. which was involved in the rice shipment of about 28,000 bags held in the port of Davao City.

The rice shipment was released through a writ of injunction issued by the Davao Regional Trial Court.

The Senate panel instructed De Lima to also issue an opinion on the authority of the trial court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that allows the BOC to release rice shipments with questionable documents.

Sevilla admitted that “tara” system or grease money still exists in the BOC, allowing illegal transactions, including smuggling, to propagate.

”If we could only change the ‘tara’ system overnight, we would have done so. But it’s root is deep,” Sevilla told the committee. (PNA)

SCS/JFM

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