‘David Tan’ arrested, released on bail

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Monday, February 3, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested Monday businessman Davidson Bangayan, who was identified by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as rice smuggler David Tan, but he posted a P40,000 bail at the nearby Manila court around 5 p.m.

Bangayan was nabbed Monday afternoon based on a warrant of arrest issued by the Caloocan Regional Trial Court (RTC), but his arrest was made not for the rice smuggling case but for a separate charge -- for violation of the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act of 1994.

He remains a free man, though, after he posted the bail at the nearby Manila RTC.

Asked why his client did not post bail at the Caloocan City court, lawyer Benito Salazar said any person in custody who is not yet arraigned can pay for his temporary freedom before any court.

The judge who accepted the bail shall then forward the cash bond, together with the release order and other supporting papers to the court where the case is pending, according to Section 19, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.

The businessman left the NBI past 5 p.m., where his mugshot and fingerprints were taken. He also had a medical checkup.

Davidson Bangayan alias David Tan
MANILA. Businessman Davidson Bangayan is arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation for a power pilferage case, right after he attended a Senate hearing on rice smuggling on Monday. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier identified Bangayan as the alleged rice smuggler David Tan. (Al Padilla/Sunnex)

Bangayan was arrested last month for the same charge but the NBI was forced to let him go when he showed identification documents claiming he is not David Tan.

It was at the hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture and food where Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the authorities were ready to implement the arrest warrant against Bangayan, who was also in attendance in Monday's hearing on rice smuggling.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier sought a clarification from the Caloocan RTC Branch 126, as De Lima wondered why the original warrant issued by Presiding Judge Lorenza Bordios-Paculdo phrased that: "David Tan who is not Davidson Bangayan."

The DOJ sought to delete the portion "who is not Davidson Bangayan" for it to be able to implement the arrest warrant but the judge was still not in the court, De Lima said.

The Justice secretary said that a representative of Meralco has identified Bangayan as Tan, who was one of the three accused in the electricity theft case.

"We were advised by the executive judge that the original warrant of arrest, even if it says 'David Tan who is not Davidson Bangayan' can serve now as the basis for the immediate arrest of Davidson Bangayan because of the additional proof that we have on his identity," De Lima said.

Since the last Senate committee hearing, De Lima said another witness has come out and testified that Bangayan and Tan is one and same person.

During the hearing, the Senate panel voted unanimously to hold Bangayan in contempt for lying under oath. The committee recommended the filing of perjury charges against the alleged rice smuggler.

Earlier, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile made the motion to hold Bangayan in contempt. Senator JV Ejercito seconded the motion.

Enrile earlier showed to the committee a document saying Bangayan said he was Tan but the businessman insisted that he signed the document as Davidson Bangayan and not as David Tan.

The document is in relation to the libel case filed by Bangayan's camp against Jesus Arranza, chairperson of the Federation of Philippine Industries, back in 2005.

"Siya mismo ang nagsabi na ako lang si Davidson Bangayan alyas David Tan? Ngayon itatanggi niyo pa ba?" Enrile asked Bangayan.

Bangayan said the libel suit was referring to a newspaper report and that his lawyer was not able to correct the information. "I saw my name and my company that's why we said na wala siyang ibang nare-refer," he said.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who was invited in the hearing, said Bangayan is the central figure in rice smuggling in the country.

"If this guy (Bangayan) would go to Davao, I will gladly kill him," Duterte said. [Read more about Duterte's testimony.]

The mayor told the committee that it was Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares who sought his help to address the problem of rice smuggling in the ports of Davao.

Duterte then met with several government agencies who reported to him that a certain David Tan is behind the rampant smuggling.

The intelligence community, he said, showed him a photo of Tan, who he identified as the same as Bangayan during the committee hearing.

Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on food and agriculture, also asked the DOJ and the NBI to include Bangayan in the watchlist, a move that was already done by the authorities, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel his passport. (Sunnex)

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