By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the filing of charges against suspects of rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan and five others due to their alleged participation in the use of dummies for rice imports in order to raise rice prices.
In a 14-page review resolution, the DOJ said it found a probable cause to accuse Bangayan and its five fellow respondents of monopolies and combinations in exchange restrictions according to article 186, paragraph 3 of the Revised Criminal Code (RPC).
The DOJ noted that the case refers to abnormal transactions allegedly assumed by respondents through the use of farmers' organizations as their mannequins in the bidding of imports made by the National Food Authority (NFA).
"For that reason, the aforementioned respondents, who were engaged in the importation of rice, with the intention of manipulating and increasing the market price of rice supplies and to make harmful transactions to licit trade, combining and conspiring and using cooperatives of farmers to participate in the import bidding process of said merchandise, should be held responsible in accordance with paragraph 3 of article 186 of the CPV, which is further aggravated by the fact that the matter subject to importation is a primary necessity "read the resolution of 5 of November and signed by Deputy Attorney General Miguel Gudio Jr.
The five interviewees of Bangayan are Elizabeth Faustino; spouses David Lim and Judilynne Lim; Eleanor Rodríguez; and Leah Echeveria.
"In addition, there is evidence in this case to support Bangayan's accusation for violation of CA (Commonwealth Law) No. 142 (a law to regulate the use of aliases), as amended by RA No. 6085, for unauthorized use of the alias "David Tan", added the resolution.
The DOJ has indicated its denial that it is not "David Tan" that allegedly used in its operations "can not pass the positive and credible test presented by the NBI-AGD (National Office of Investigation-Anti-Graft Division) that includes, among others , statements from witnesses and public records that show that he is using, in addition to his true name, the alias "David Tan". "
The NBI-AGD, who filed the claim with the DOJ, demonstrated that Bangayan and Faustino are involved in transactions related to multi-purpose cooperatives Riverview, Umasaka, SitioMuzon, Sta. Cecilia, Formosa and GPI San Miguel.
The DOJ noted that the testimonies of the testimonies Augusto Hernández and LambertoIngal showed their respective shares (Bangayan and Faustino) to demonstrate their conspiracy in the anomalous transactions to manipulate rice imports in the country and these are material evidence to support the criminal prosecution to combine commercial restrictions ".
"It is good to note that two witnesses just mentioned the participation of the Bangayan interrogation as the financier of some of the cooperatives and that Faustino was respondent who acted as his corridor and who provided the documentary and financial requirements so that the interested party can allow entities to participate In the tender for the purchase of rice, "said the DOJ.
On the other hand, the Lims, Rodríguez and Echeveria, all Commodities DGL, were involved in multi-purpose cooperatives KapatirangTakusa, UgnayangMagbubukidng San Isidro, Inc., Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan in Katagalugan and Samahan n gMagsasaka sa Kalawitan.
The NBI-AGD presented as evidence against the four joint statements of Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan in the chairman of Katalugan Maximo Hernández, Samahan of Magsasaka sa Kalawitan, President RemegioManalastas, and Emily Alabado.
"These witnesses indicated the participation of the surveyed Rodriguez as a runner and facilitator of the import requirements, the interviewed Echeveria as co-signatory of the bank accounts that opened for spouses as proprietors of DGL Commodities and cooperative financiers, evidencing that they conspired and confederated to enter into legal transactions, "said the DOJ.
"In addition, the respondents, Lim, wives, Rodríguez and Echevaria, in their respective opinions affirmed that they supported and financed the cooperatives of the farmers in the imports of rice", added.
The NBI-AGD also presented as evidence to the DOJ the statements of NFA officials concerned and the report of the Senate Committee of February 6, 2013 on the problem of rice smuggling and recommended the investigation of the respondents.