Blackout postpones hearing vs 4 Customs execs

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

THE three-hour power outage at the Hall of Justice in Davao City Wednesday forced the initial hearing for the case filed against four Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Davao personnel and a customs broker accused of conspiring in the misdeclaration of P10-million worth of imports to be moved to June.

Regional Trial Court (RTC) Davao City Branch 15 Judge Ridgway Tanjili told Sun.Star Davao on Wednesday that the trial for former District Collector Anju Nereo Castigador, former acting assistant wharfinger Alicodsaman Dimasicil, examiners Lerrie Natividad and Moctar Amir and customs broker Michael B. Corong were reset to June 24 and 25.

"Wala gyud tay mabuhat aning rotational brownout kay mao na man gyud na siya. Actually ready na unta ang hearing kay naa na ang counsel for the defense and prosecution. Kaso wala pa man gyud nibalik ang kuryente and dili pud ko gusto na pahulaton sila bantog nagagree na lang mi na i-reset
ang hearing, (We can't do anything about the rotational brownout because it's just the way it is. The hearing was actually ready since the counsels for the defense and prosecution were already present. However, power hasn't been restored yet and I don't want them to wait that is why we agreed to reset the hearing)," Tanjili said.


The hearing was initially set on Tuesday with Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao prosecutors Ferdinand Tugas and Melinda Dayanghirang presenting the evidence for the prosecution.

Sun.Star Davao correspondent Ben Tesiorna was about to take the witness stand yet the prosecution was compelled to ask for a reset of the hearing yesterday. The untimely power outage, however, compounded the delay in the court proceedings.

Council for accused Amer lawyer Deud Calala, in a separate interview, said the counsel for the prosecution opted to have a reset as they were still making further preparations for the presentation of their evidence against the respondents.

"Ang sabi lang nila (prosecutors) na they need more time. Siguro kailangan pa nilang kausapin yung witness and pumayag na man si Judge," Calala said.

The case stemmed when the Office of the Ombudsman, in a resolution dated November 29, 2012, recommended the filing of charges for violation of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the respondents.

The four were charged after they allegedly took part in allowing the importation of 40 containers vans, which were initially declared as containing construction materials but were later discovered as containing 12,800 bags of rice.

The BOC personnel were charged after they failed to file cases against the consignee Rapzel General Merchandising and customs broker Corong.

Apart from the filing of charges, the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao also ordered the dismissal of Castigador and Dimasicil and the suspension of Natividad and Amir.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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