De Lima: Suspected smuggler David Tan is real

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Monday, January 13, 2014

MANILA (Updated)-- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Monday rejected the claim of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that alleged rice smuggling kingpin David Tan is a fictitious person.

De Lima said initial results of the ongoing probe by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) showed Tan and Davidson Bangayan Tan is “one and the same person,” shooting down Duterte’s statement last week that the businessman is not living in the city.

She said the NBI is also tracking down Tan’s protectors in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other government agencies.

"The NBI knows his addresses. The NBI knows who he is. We have pictures of him and the businesses that he runs. It appears that he is a one-man cartel," she told reporters.

The government allegedly lost P7 billion due to Tan’s illegal activities in the past two years. He was a metal scrap trader before going into rice smuggling, according to the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI).

Duterte has since vowed to kill smuggling operators in Davao for taking away earnings from farmers. He was criticized by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for his attempt to take the law into his hands while Malacañang reminded him to observe due process.

The mayor shrugged off his critics, saying it is not the government’s problem if he will be sent to jail in the process of weeding out smugglers. (Sunnex)

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