DOJ sets raps vs Ban­gayan, 5 oth­ers for rice monopoly

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By EVE­LYN MA­CAIRAN – With Ce­cille Suerte Felipe

The De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) might file next week a case for trade monopoly against sus­pected rice smug­gler David­son Ban­gayan, alias David Tan, and five oth­ers.

Se­nior deputy state pros­e­cu­tor Richard An­thony Fadul­lon, also the act­ing pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral of the Na­tional Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice, said they were still pre­par­ing the in­for­ma­tion for the case as of last Fri­day and that this might be filed be­fore a court on Mon­day.

The DOJ, in its 14-page re­view res­o­lu­tion crafted by se­nior deputy state pros­e­cu­tor Miguel Gu­dio Jr., found prob­a­ble cause to in­dict Ban­gayan, along with Eliz­a­beth Faustino, David Lim, Judi­lyne Lim, Eleanor Ro­driguez and Leah Echev­e­ria, for rice monopoly.

The case stemmed from the com­plaint filed by the Na­tional Bu­reau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion-Anti-Graft Divi­sion (NBI-AGD), which found that the six used sev­eral farm­ers’ or­ga­ni­za­tions as dum­mies to bid be­fore the Na­tional Food Au­thor­ity (NFA) for rice im­por­ta­tions.

All six re­port­edly vi­o­lated Ar­ti­cle 186, para­graph 3 of the Re­vised Pe­nal Code (Mo­nop­o­lies and Com­bi­na­tions in Re­straint of Trade) when they em­ployed “farm­ers and or­ga­ni­za­tions to par­tic­i­pate in the bid­ding of rice im­por­ta­tions with the in­ten­tion of ma­nip­u­lat­ing and in­creas­ing the mar­ket price of the rice sup­ply.”

“In ad­di­tion, there is ev­i­dence in the present case to sup­port the in­dict­ment of re­spon­dent Ban­gayan for vi­o­la­tion of Com­mon­wealth Act 142 as amended by Repub­lic Act 6085 for the unau­tho­rized use of alias David Tan,” Gu­dio added.

Mean­while, Sen. Cyn­thia Vil­lar wel­comed the fil­ing of charges, a de­vel­op­ment she de­scribed as some­thing that would dis­cour­age il­le­gal rice trad­ing in the coun­try.

“This sends sig­nals that the gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous in fil­ing cases against those who vi­o­late the law,” she said in Filipino over dwIZ, re­call­ing that smug­glers in the past went scot-free as the gov­ern­ment failed to charge those re­spon­si­ble.

Vil­lar said she had con­tin­u­ously asked the DOJ to up­date her on its in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Ban­gayan.

“We al­ways ask them what hap­pened to their in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter our com­mit­tee re­port. Fi­nally, af­ter four years, they will now be prose­cut­ing David Ban­gayan,” she added.

While she be­lieves the DOJ has an air­tight case, she is also con­cerned about the coun­try’s slow jus­tice sys­tem.

“Of­ten­times, it doesn’t work. But we are still hop­ing. This is an op­por­tu­nity for the DOJ to show that they can win this case against th­ese peo­ple. We need to mon­i­tor the de­vel­op­ment of the case,” Vil­lar said.

“If we are able to charge some­one and we get a con­vic­tion, it will be­come an ex­am­ple. We know that those in­volved also have the money to spend. Why should they do it (smug­gling) when they have the money? It is be­cause the gov­ern­ment was not prose­cut­ing,” she added.

Sen. Aquilino Pi­mentel III also said the fil­ing of charges was a good de­vel­op­ment in the gov­ern­ment’s ef­fort to ad­dress rice smug­gling, adding that law en­forcers should not stop there but also look into rice hoard­ing.


NFA of­fi­cials re­leased the Sug­gested Re­tail Price (SRP) for rice at Tra­bajo Mar­ket in Manila yes­ter­day as the gov­ern­ment warns of sanc­tions against traders and re­tail­ers who vi­o­late the SRP rule.

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