Davao trader charged with usurping authority

Subscribe Now December 20, 2010 at 07:01pm

The Customs office in Davao City has charged before the Department of Justice a businessman and a self-styled with usurpation of authority for ordering the opening up of a container van which the bureau’s X-ray inspection division had detected to have been loaded with smuggled rice. In a petition for review, Davao District Collector Anju Nereo C. Castigador asked Justice Secretary Laila de Lima to overturn the decision of the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office dismissing the complaint of usurpation of authority against businessman Rodolfo Reta and several others on the grounds that they were not subversives to be charged with the offense.

Castigador stressed that Reta, owner of the Aquarius Container Yard—which used to be the Bureau of Custom’s designated examination area —usurped the powers of the bureau by opening up the container van consigned to Rapzel General Merchandise without their approval and consent last February 26, 2010.

Castigador said that Reta is not authorized to control and examine all imports cargoes or close of the examination area gates.

The case stemmed from Reta’s recent accusation of rampant smuggling at the port of Davao after then Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales terminated on March 5, 2010 a memorandum of agreement designating the ACY compound as the examination area of the BOC. The deal used to give Reta’s ACY an income of P4-5 million a week.

Morales scrapped the Customs deal with ACY after Reta ordered his yard’s security guards to bar customs examiners from entering the compound to examine 40 container vans following a smuggling alert from X-Ray Inspection Division Head Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang. The vans turned out to be loaded with smuggled rice.

Castigador said that Reta, who did not complain of any wrong-doing at the ACY grounds prior to the termination of the BOC-ACY MOA, then started complaining about smuggling and accused Castigador of allegedly covering up the illegal activities.

Reta was aided by co-respondent Jane de Guia, acting ACY manager; head security guard Felimon Lavisures; and Davao reporter Ben Tesiorna then opened the van, with Tesiorna taking pictures of it, the Customs complaint said.

Castigador, a lawyer, said Reta and his men usurped their official function because the “District Collector of the Port of Davao is the sole person in authority, vested with the jurisdiction of authority to govern and execute the tariff and customs laws relative to the customs activities in the Port of Davao.”

Source: manilastandardtoday.com



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