Miriam seeks probe on Cagayan smuggling, hits JPE

Posted at 02/14/2013 5:30 PM | Updated as of 02/14/2013 8:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is planning to file a resolution to probe the alleged arrival of imported vehicles at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Free Port (CSEZ).

Santiago said the arrival of vehicles at Port Irene, Sta. Ana on Monday was an “open defiance of a decision of the Supreme Court.”

Supreme Court issued a ruling on January 7, 2013 upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 156, which imposed a partial ban on the importation of used cars.

The EO was issued by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to prevent smuggling and “accelerate the sound development of the motor vehicle industry in the Philippines.”

Santiago also questioned the alleged involvement of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who she said was a “prime mover behind the CSEZ.”

“Several years ago, he even arrogantly claimed that President Arroyo’s ban on importation of used vehicles was unconstitutional, and with constant hubris, he also sharply criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the ban,” Santiago said.

Santiago said her resolution will also call for an investigation on Enrile’s role, adding that Enrile’s actuations concerning the Cagayan port “seeks to bolster the culture of impunity.”

“The Senate needs to investigate why everyone in the Philippines is prohibited from imported vehicles except the entity created and protected by Enrile. What makes him so special?” said Santiago.