SC asked to penalize judge in rice smuggling case

Posted at 02/05/14 2:50 PM

MANILA - Farmers and agriculture industry stakeholders asked the Supreme Court to discipline a Davao judge for ordering the release of seized smuggled rice.

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) said Davao Regional Trial Court Judge Emmanuel Carpio should be penalized for gross misconduct since he has no jurisdiction over such matters as smuggled products.

In December, the Bureau of Customs said it was forced to release 167 seized containers as a result of the injunction issued by Carpio.

SINAG calculates that the 167 container vans amount to 83,500 cavans or almost 4.2 million kilos of rice. The 167 container vans are part of the almost 2,000 containers seized by the Bureau of Customs for having no import permit.

SINAG said the SC has suspended judges and held them administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law when they ordered the release of properties subject of warrants of seizure and detention by the Bureau of Customs.

In the case of Rallos, et al vs. Judge Ireneo Lee Gako, Jr, the Supreme Court ruled that “well-settled is the rule that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the property subject of the warrant of seizure and detention issued by the Bureau of Customs.”

“Let this be a stern warning to all other magistrates who have similar cases pending in their courts that we will hold them liable for rulings that encourages smuggling of rice and other agricultural commodities,” said SINAG Chairman Rosendo So.

“We are filing this case so that smugglers will not be further emboldened with favorable trial court rulings; malakas ang loob ng mga smugglers dahil sa tingin nila ay kaya nilang mapaikutan ang ating mga batas at dahil sa tingin nila ay may mga mahistrado silang masasandalan,” he said.

“Imbes na ‘no permit, no import’ magiging ‘no permit, no problem’ na kapag nananatili ang desisyon ni Judge Carpio. Wala nang habas at tuloy-tuloy na ang pagpasok ng smuggled na bigas at iba pang mga agricultural commodities dahil tatakbo na lamang sa korte ang mga smugglers sa tuwing mahuhuli sila sa pagpupuslit ng bigas at iba pang produktong agrikultural,” he added.