2 Davao Customs execs face graft charges

Two intelligence officials of the Bureau of Customs in Davao City are facing graft charges for allegedly demanding money from a Korean businessman engaged in importing surplus knock down vehicles.

Accused for violation of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Davao City were BOC intelligence officer Mark Cabigting Paras and BOC Intelligence and Investigation Service assistant office-in-charge Bievenido Labalan Plata.

In a resolution, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Vivian Jumilla of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao found sufficient basis to hold Paras and Plata for trial in court based on the complaint filed by Park Kwon, President of the PK Industries and Trading Services.

Jumilla accused the two BOC officials of using their positions to demand money from Kwon.

Kwon’s company is engaged in importation of surplus knock down parts and components for rebuilding and replacement of various vehicles since 2003.

Meanwhile, Kwon said that he previously faced a smuggling case before the BOC but it was already dismissed on October 13, 2009.

On March 21, 2012, Kwon alleged that he was informed by PK Industries Customs Processor Joy Lyn dela Peña, that Paras requested a conference with him.

At the conference, the complainant said Paras informed him of the container vans to be arriving which were consigned to PK Industries.

During that time, at least 15 container vans were scheduled to arrive.

Kwon said Paras told him to pay P3,000 per container van which he refused to do so since he had just recovered from a fire incident that incurred damages on his business.

But Kwon said, Paras “arrogantly” told him that he is selling assembled cars as if he violated the country’s Tariff and Customs Code.

To avoid trouble, Kwon said he walked out from the office of Paras but he paid taxes and duties for his shipments which were subsequently, released.

For his part, Paras denied the allegations hurled against him and even questioned Kwon’s authority as importer claiming that he is not an incorporator of PK Industries.

Plata, on the other hand, admitted that he was building a case against PK Industries for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code.

Assessing all the evidence on record, Ombudsman investigation and prosecution officer Jumilla ruled that the respondents failed to “overturn evidence” presented by the complainant.

Jumilla also found conspiracy between Paras and Plata. (Jessie L. Casalda/THE MINDANAO DAILY MIRROR)

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