The importer and broker of the 17,160 pieces of Kaspersky brand anti-virus software seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last November 22, 2011 for misdeclaration and undervaluation, will soon have their day in court as the BOC filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) today, anti-smuggling charges against Myrna M. Garcia, owner of Plinth Enterprises, the consignee of the anti-virus shipment and her broker Custodio Mendoza Vestidas, Jr. for violation of Section 2503 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).
The shipment which arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last November 5, 2011 were misdeclared as CD kit cleaners and plastic CD cases with a grossly undervalued declaration of only Php100, 362.00, when upon verification of the Kaspersky anti-virus software’s prevailing market prices, the shipment could have easily been worth Php27, 787,078.27.
According to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, the expeditious filing of appropriate charges against the couple is a result of the bureau’s thrust to shorten the gap between the date of seizure and the date of filing of appropriate charges against violators of the TCCP.
“As part of my priority agenda to fast track the delivery of services at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), without prejudice, of course, to collection and efficiency, I am aiming for, at the most, a 30-day period from the time of seizure of illegally imported items to the time of filing of the appropriate charges against those involved in smuggling and violators of the TCCP,” Biazon stressed.
“This is the 9th case we have filed since I was tasked to lead the BOC. There will be no let-up in this campaign to put smugglers where they rightfully belong. And in compliance with the President’s order to clean the bureau, we are now filing, at least, two cases each month against smugglers at the DOJ. It is just a matter of time when we shall see of them at the bureau,” the Commissioner pointed out.
The misdeclaration was discovered upon X-Ray scanning of the 40 footer container van when officials of the MICP-X Ray Project under the leadership of Collector lawyer Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang got suspicious of its contents.
For his part, Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group (RCMG) and concurrent Run-After-The-Smugglers (RATS) Head, Deputy Commissioner Peter Manzano expressed hope that with the rate they are going now in the filing of cases against smugglers, this could somehow serve as a deterrent to those planning to do something illegal at the Bureau of Customs.
“We are continuously enhancing our capabilities to file tighter cases against smugglers. We are now practically doing a continuing education program for our lawyers to keep them abreast with the latest laws and rules in international trade and customs rules,” Manzano said. Jessil A. Felisario, Public Information & Assistance Division (PIAD), Bureau of Customs