Proprietor/importer found guilty for agricultural smuggling, gets 3-year prison term

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A METROPOLITAN Trial Court (MTC) declared a proprietor and trader guilty of agricultural smuggling and was sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison.

Based on a criminal complaint that was filed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) with the Department of Justice (DOJ) September 10, 2020, the court found Divina Bisco Aguilar, the proprietor of Real Mart, guilty of misdeclaring a shipment of carrots as frozen pastry buns.

The case was filed due to an incident on June 26, 2020, when a shipment consigned to Real Mart arrived at the BOC – Port of Manila from Singapore. The consignee declared the shipment to contain 2,500 cartons of frozen pastry buns. However, suspicions were raised when a derogatory report was received by the Port of Manila, prompting a physical examination of the shipment.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that the shipment did not contain frozen pastry buns as declared, which was a clear violation of Customs regulations. Subsequently, a warrant of seizure and detention was issued against the shipment, and appropriate charges were filed against the owner of Real Mart.

On September 8, 2023, the Metropolitan Trial Court – National Judicial Capital Region Branch 24 rendered its verdict, finding the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for violation of Section 1401 in relation to Sections 102 and 1400 of Republic Act No. 10863, commonly known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The accused has been sentenced to a prison term of three years and one day to four years.

The BOC also filed two (2) criminal complaints with the DOJ on September 8 and 15, 2023, which involved another misdeclaration case of various goods from Korea without approved clearance from the Food and Drug Administration, and the exportation of a universal CT tester with a falsified General Authorization Certificate. These incidents are likewise in violation of relevant provisions of the CMTA.

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