The Department of Justice (DOJ) has confirmed the prosecution of suspected rice smuggler Davidson Bangjayan and five others for their alleged involvement in the use of pets for the import of their rice to increase rice prices.
The DoJs reported on a 14-page report that they had found a possible basis for accusing Bangjiang and his five co-existing monopolies and a combination of trade restrictions under the revised Article 186 (3) of the Penal Code.
The DoJ noted that the case relates to anomalous transactions that may have been involved by respondents through the employment of farmers' organizations as their artists in an import competition conducted by the National Food Administration (NFA).
"For this reason, the aforementioned respondents who were involved in the import of rice with a view to manipulating and increasing the market price of the rice supply, as well as carrying out transactions that threaten legitimate trade by combining, distorting and using agricultural cooperatives to participate in the sale of such goods import contests should be answered in accordance with Article 186 (3) of the RPC, further aggravated by the fact that the subject of importation is a prerequisite, "read the resolution of 5 November signed by Miguel Gudio Jr., Chief of Public Prosecutor.
Five of his fellow citizens are Elizabeth Faustino; the spouses David Lim and Judilynne Lim; Eleanor Rodriguez; and Lea Echeveria.
"In addition, in the present case, there is evidence to support the appellant Banjayan in respect of the unauthorized use of the pseudonym David Tan on CA (Commonwealth Law) No 142 (Draft Law to regulate the use of substitute names), as amended by RA No 6085, "added the resolution.
The DoJ stated his denial that he was not David Tan, who he allegedly used in his dealings, "can not overcome the positive and credible evidence presented by the NBI-AGD (National Bureau of Investigation and Counterintelligence Division), which includes, inter alia testimony and public record of witnesses, indicating that he is actually using, in addition to his true name, the pseudonym David Tan. "
The NBI-AGD, which filed a complaint with the DOJ, indicated that Bangayan and Faustino are involved in transactions involving multi-functional cooperatives Riverview, Umasaka, SitioMuzon, Sta. Cecilia, Formosa and GPI San Miguel.
The DoJ noted that evidence by witnesses Augusto Hernandez and LambertoIngal testified to "the proper involvement of him (Bangjai and Faustino) to prove his conspiracy in abnormal transactions to manipulate the import of rice into the country, and these are essential evidence to justify criminal liability in order to combine trade restrictions. "
"It is good to note that the two witnesses specifically pointed out the participation of respondents Bangjayan as part of the co-operative funders and that the responsible was Faustino, who acted as his broker and who facilitated the documentation and financial requirements so that the units concerned could be allowed to participate in the tender for rice buying, "said DoJ.
On the other hand, Lims, Rodriguez and Echeveria, all DGL Commodities, were involved in multi-functional cooperatives KapatirangTakusa, UgnayangMagbubukidng San Isidro, Inc., Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalugan and Samahan ngGagsasaka sa Kalawitan.
The NBI-AGD provided proof of four joint statements by Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan to the chairman of the Catalyst, Maximo Hernandez, Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Kalawitan, Chairman Remegio Manalast and Emily Alabado.
"These witnesses indicated that respondent Rodriguez had taken part as an import claims broker and facilitator as well as a respondent Echeveria as a co-signer of bank accounts opened to the spouses as owners of DGL Commodities and co-funders, thus confirming that they had entered into an agreement and confederated with each other to launch legitimate business, "said DoJ.
"In addition, respondents who are the spouses, Lim, Rodriguez and Echevaria, even acknowledged in their respective statements that they supported and funded farmers' cooperatives in importing rice."
The NBI-AGD also provided US Government officials with evidence of the relevant NFA officials' explanations and the Senate Committee's report of 6 February 2013 on the issue of rice smuggling and recommended that the respondents be investigated.