Customs employee, 2 others arrested for smuggling P3-M jewelry
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) arrested one of its employees working at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 and two passengers for alleged conspiracy to import P3 million worth of smuggled jewelry.
The 3 suspects, namely NAIA Customs Operations Officer V Lomontod Macabando and passengers Abraham Mimbalawag and Bang-sa Mimbalawag allegedly tried to smuggle 1.9 kilos of jewelry on May 5, the BOC said in a press statement on Saturday, May 12.
The suspects are now facing charges for violating the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the Revised Penal Code. (READ: New Customs chief vows ‘zero tolerance’ for corruption)
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the authorities nabbed the suspects after the acting customs examiner at NAIA Terminal 3’s arrival operations division saw a still-unidentified passenger hand a black clutch bag to Macabando.
Macabando then hurriedly walked towards the exit of the customs arrival area. BOC personnel and airport security guards worked together to stop Macabando from getting away.
On the same day, the Mimbalawags arrived at the NAIA Terminal 3 aboard Cebu Pacific Air flight 5J015 from Dubai.
They later admitted to authorities they owned the bag handed to Macabando.
Authorities discovered the bag contained 24 pieces of rings, 1,029 pairs of earrings, 155 pieces of pendants, 5 pieces of earrings with pendants, 19 pieces of bangles, 295 pieces of chains, and 101 pieces of bracelets.
The BOC-NAIA said the bag owner failed to declare the importation and provide required commercial documents or invoice. (READ: Customs seizes cigarettes smuggled from China)
The suspects were subject to inquest proceedings on May 6 at the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office.
They were later released after the prosecutor issued their release order from the ESS-Port of the NAIA Detention Facility. The preliminary investigation of the case has been scheduled for May 15 and 22. – Rappler.com