By Alexis Romero
The Philippine Star, August 05, 2010, Thursday
Navy troops have apprehended 11 suspected smugglers,
including two persons who claimed to be Customs
employees, for trying to sneak in more than P6.42 million
worth of contraband off Lamion Point in Tawi-Tawi.
In a statement, Ltjg. Rommel Rodriguez, Navy Fleet public
affairs officer, said BRP Dioscoro Papa intercepted last
Sunday M/L Parhata while patrolling 800 yards southeast
off Lamion Point.
Rodriguez said more than 3,400 sacks of Vietnamese rice,
300 sacks of sugar and other taxable cargoes without
proper documents were found on board M/L Parhata.
Eleven crewmen of M/L Parhata were brought to Customs
authorities in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for the filing of
charges against them.
However, two of those arrested claimed to be Customs
employees who had already confiscated the illegal items.
The two were identified as Atari Misuari and Duksin Jali.
“But (Misuari and Jali) failed to present a mission order
authorized by the BOC (Bureau of Customs). Moreover, they
were not in their uniforms when they were caught,”
Awab Dawami, captain of M/L Parhata, said the two did not
identify themselves when they boarded the vessel.
He added that he was never asked to show documents that
would support the contraband on board the ship.
Rodriguez said they are now verifying if Misuari and Jali
are really connected with the BOC.
The BOC has vowed to coordinate with other state agencies
to run after smugglers and to meet its P280-billion target
for this year.
Intensifying the drive against smugglers is one of the
measures being undertaken by the government to raise
revenues and to contain the budget deficit, which is
expected to hit P325 billion this year.