More resource persons in rice smuggling face contempt raps

Posted at 09/12/12 2:35 PM

MANILA - The Senate panels investigating the smuggling of rice from Vietnam have asked 2 more of its resource persons to show cause why they should not be cited in contempt for allegedly lying before the committees.

Agriculture Committee Chairman Senator Francis Pangilinan said Jan Dexter Marfil, president and CEO of Masagana Import Export Inc, a broker, and Magdangal Diego Maralit Bayani III have been asked to show cause within 5 days from today.

A third resource person, Cesar Bulaong, vice president of Metro Eastern Trading Corporation, may also face contempt charges.

This, after today's hearing, where the resource persons in separate occasions throughout the hearing drew the ire of senators for allegedly lying to the committee.

Pangilinan explained Marfil is being held accountable for saying his signature was forged in an undertaking where he said a broker has no liability for the entry of imported goods. This is for the entry of Vietnamese rice which were declared as gypsum board in subic.

During the hearing, Marfil was confronted by senators with the notary public who notarized the undertaking, Leonardo Bernabe, a notary public in Subic. Bernabe said Marfil attested to the document in his presence.

"Sa harapan namin may nagsisinungaling isa sa kanila. Si Marfil una, dineny niya nagpaimport siya. Ang daming inconsistency," Pangilinan said.

On the other hand, Bayani is being asked to show cause because he repeatedly refused to answer senators' questions and invoked his right to privacy and confidentiality among investors.

"Paano mareregulate ng tama ang pag import ng bigas kung ang nagnenegosyo at investor ay di natin kilala," Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile Pangilinan said they have no final decision yet on Bulaong, though they are displeased with his circuitous answers to questions during the hearing.

The committee's next hearing is on September 19, 2012.