By BETHEENA KAE UNITE
All persons involved in the illegal release of the 105 alerted container vans from the Asian Terminal Inc. container yard will be summoned for investigation, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena said.
“The BoC (Bureau of Customs) will issue a subpoena to all personalities involved to know the perpetrators behind the illegal release of the 105 alerted shipments,” Lapena said during a press briefing in Meycauayan, Bulacan, where all shipments of tiles were discovered.
“We are also conducting a parallel investigation on our own men,” Lapena added.
The Customs chief believes that the incident happened due to “collusion of people from the outside and from the bureau.”
“There was a violation of the procedure and it is done with the connivance of the people from the outside and from the inside. My suspicion here is that this has been their remedy on the sudden deployment of the customs police in their gates,” Lapena said.
Officials of ATI, meanwhile, expressed their cooperation through a letter sent to the commissioner on March 26.
“They have volunteered their cooperation, unlike the first time we did not receive the necessary cooperation from them. This time, they are now cooperating,” Lapena confirmed.
During the investigation of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), it was found that a certain Darwin Dalmacio, ship manager of ATI, allegedly untagged the alerted shipments from the system based on a purportedly forged transmittal release order that is supposedly issued by the commissioner.
According to Customs processes, a shipment that has been alerted should be subjected to a 100-percent physical examination and only the commissioner can authorized the release of the alerted shipments. However, the shipments were released without the lifting order issued by Lapena.
According to the CIIS, the alleged forged document bearing fake signature of Formal Entry Chief Antonio Meliton Pascual and Assistant Chief Marilayn Estur is now the subject of document examination.
The commissioner also clarified that the alert order on the shipment “cannot be lifted electronically because it has to be by the document, which should be presented.”
“All manual when it comes to alert orders. But there is another instance na ang lifting electronically.That is when we make use of the electronic staff,” Lapena said.
The electronic staff is used by the commissioner when there is an important information that to his evaluation needs to be acted upon.
Dalmacio, according to the commissioner, will be given the chance to answer the allegation.
Since the discovery of the incident, five Customs officials, inluding Pascual and Estur, have been recommended for preventive suspension pending investigation.
On Wednesday, the 105 alerted container vans, which was illegally-withdrawn, have been all accounted for.