Bizman’s P21-M rice custody trial reset

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THE trial for the case involving a Dabawenyo businessman seeking for the release of his P21-million worth of rice from the custody of the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Davao at the sala of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 16 Davao City was reset to January 10.

RTC Branch 16 presiding judge Emmanuel Carpio initially scheduled a hearing on Monday to determine whether a permanent injunction should be granted to release the P21 million worth of rice imports owned by Joseph Mangupag Ngo from the custody of BOC-Davao.

But source from RTC Branch 16, who requested anonymity, said the presiding judge re-scheduled the trial, as he will be giving time for the plaintiff and the legal counsel for BOC lawyer Edward James Dy Buco to comment on the intervention sought by the National Food Authority (NFA) on the case.


With respect to this, the NFA legal affairs department filed an urgent motion to appear before the sala of RTC Branch 16 and prayed to be the defendant alongside BOC-Davao.

The issue stemmed from the refusal of BOC-Davao to release the rice shipments to Ngo as the latter was not able to secure a permit from the NFA.

Ngo, however, asserted in his affidavit that securing a permit from the NFA is unnecessary as the latter's authority to impose quantitative restrictions on rice importations has already expired.

The plaintiff cited that the World Trade Organization (WTO) allowed the Philippines to be exempted from the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which gave NFA the authority to control the quantity of rice importation in the country. The exemption, however, expired on June 30, 2012 and he made the purchase from a Vietnamese rice exporter on October 2013.

Buco, in response, insisted that the release of the rice imports to Ngo is yet to be determined as there is a pending request for the extension f Philippines' exemption from the GATT to 2017 and WTO is yet to act upon the request.

The presiding judge, in an order dated December 12, 2013, affirmed the request of Ngo based on the grounds that the plaintiff is already cleared from any tax liabilities and he has posted a P5-million bond for the injunction. (Sun.Star Davao)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 08, 2014.

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