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22 February 2024, 09:45 AM

Lady Importer Engaged in “Smuggling for Free” Charged

April 3, 2011

A lady importer who allowed her company to be used as a front by smugglers for a fee was the subject of a smuggling complaint filed by the Bureau of Customs today before the Department of Justice.

Charged by the BOC’s Run After The Smugglers (RATS) Group was Ma. Juliza Santi Josue , proprietor of Coreline International Trading, whose listed business address at 720-E Quirino Highway, Novaliches, Quezon City turned out to be an old dilapidated apartment that could not have possibly housed a multi-billion peso operation.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said that between October 2009 and July last year, Josue’s Coreline International made importations of various products that were declared in two thousand, two hundred seventy-two import entries (2,272) as having a combined dutiable value of only two hundred three million, one hundred thirty-seven thousand, one hundred eighty (P203,137,180) which were only assessed fifty-seven million, seventy-six thousand, two hundred and forty pesos (P57,076,240) in duties and taxes.

Examinations conducted by the RATS Team on Josue’s import entries revealed that her company’s various importations consisting of a wide range of highly taxable consumer products were either grossly undervalued or misdeclared as something else.

Alvarez cited as example Import Entry No. C-29240 which was declared as a twenty foot container loaded with imported textile materials and bed sheets. It was declared to have a dutiable value of only P35,000 for which only P13,471 in duties and taxes were paid.

Deputy Customs Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, concurrently the executive director of the RATS Group, disclosed that since Josue’s company was involved in the importation of highly taxable goods ranging from electronic gadgets to wearing apparel, her 2,272 import entries, assuming there was only one container per entry (which was certainly not the case here), should have been valued at no less than P3 billion based on a highly conservative valuation of only P1.2 million per container.

Chavez also revealed that based on documented reports as well as photos taken of Josue’s business address, “Coreline International appears to exist only on paper. The said entity was clearly used for the purpose of securing customs accreditation for the benefit of unscrupulous big-time financiers who hire the services of ‘dummies’ in their smuggling activities.”

Aside from the fact that Josue did not hold office in her listed address, the RATS Team was able to secure documented proofs that Coreline International did not have other officers and employees; neither did it have even a single warehouse where its multi-billion imported goods could have been stored or kept.

Given Josue’s lack of financial capability to engage in a multi-billion peso import operation, the only logical conclusion, averred Chavez, was that she was merely used by yet to be identified persons as a front for their smuggling business.

Alvarez said the BOC would pull out all stops to effect the arrest of Josue in the hope of convincing her to turn state witness.

The Customs chief added that BOC’s real interest in filing this case “is to establish the identity of the real persons behind the smuggling activities of Coreline International and other smugglers for hire.”

Alvarez called on Josue “to do the right thing” by coming forward with information that will lead to the criminal prosecution of those who use people like her as a smokescreen for their smuggling activities.

Believing that smuggling on this scandalous scale could not have happened without the connivance of customs employees, Alvarez ordered Chavez to immediately identify, investigate and charge in court those who were guilty of “indispensable cooperation” with Josue and her non-existent company.

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