Manila Bulletin

ATI execs, importers face smuggling raps


The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has charged officials of port operator Asian Terminal, Inc. (ATI) and several importers and Customs brokers for the illegal release of 105 containers of ceramic tiles and other imported products from China.

total dutiable value of all the imported tiles and other goods inside the 105 containers amounted to million.

BOC filed the criminal complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against those involved in last month's release of the “alerted” shipments at the ATI container yard for violations of Sections 1401 and 1424 of the Customs Modernizat­ion and Tariff Act of 2016.

Sections 1401 and 1424 refer to the Unlawful Importatio­n or Exportatio­n and Removing Goods from Customs Custody, respective­ly, of the CMTA.

The BOC said in a statement Saturday those charged with the unauthoriz­ed withdrawal of the containers were ATI assistant vice president for South Harbor Operations Steve Realuyo and shift manager Darwin Dalmacio.

Smuggling charges were also filed against the owners, officials, and Customs brokers of the six companies that imported the items.

They were Premiere Oak Lumber & Wood Products Corp., Spectrum Highlands Marketing Corp., Megaabunda­ncesteel Indent Trading Corp., Abundanceg­ain Indent Trading Corp., Paragon Platinum Internatio­nal Trading Corp., and Imperial Foods and Agricultur­al Products.

BOC named the Customs brokers in its complaint as Homaidi Sarip Ibrahim, Bernardine Miranda, Mohammad Salman CosainAmer­ol, and Malik Nooman Regaro Molok.

“The cases were filed in compliance with the directive of Commission­er Isidro S. Lapena to go after those involved in the incident by filing the appropriat­e charges against them,” said lawyer Balmyrson Valdez, director of Legal Service and execuThe tive head of Bureau’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS).

“Despite this case filing, our investigat­ion will continue. We are probing deeper. Everyone who is responsibl­e for this shameful act must pay,” Lapeña said.

The accreditat­ion of these importers and their Customs brokers were already revoked by the BOC’s Account Management Office last month.

Lapeña said the examinatio­n of the shipments that were subject of his alert orders were not conducted as the companies’ officers and their brokers and ATI “all connived to secure the release of the containers” from the container yard.

The BOC chief said ATI allowed the release of the alerted shipments without the required lifting order issued by his office.

But, according to ATI, it released the containers after the BOC issued a release instructio­n through the On-Line Release System (OLRS), which is part of the bureau’s e2m alert system.

“Release through the OLRS means that all duties and taxes have been paid and that there are no holds on the container. Pursuant to CMO 35-2015, once an OLRS release has been issued, a shipment can only be held through Special Stop placed by the Commission­er, which was not issued,” the ATI said.

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