Sec. De Lima Affirms Smuggling Charges Against President and CEO of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines

14 August 2013

Secretary of Justice LEILA M. DE LIMA issued a Resolution dated 13 August 2013, denying the Urgent Verified Motion for Reconsideration  Re: Resolution dated 24 April 2013] ("Urgent Verified Motion for Reconsideration") filed by respondent DENNIS ANG UY in the case entitled, "Bureau of Customs vs. Dennis Ang Uy, Jorlan Capin Cabanes, John Does and/or Jane Does" (NPS Docket No. XVI-INV-11E-00180).

It may be recalled that, in an earlier Resolution dated 24 April 2013, the Secretary of Justice found probable cause to charge Respondent Uy, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines ("PHOENIX"), and Customs Broker JORLAN CAPIN  CABANES for violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, in connection with allegations of unlawful and fraudulent importations of gasoil, unleaded gasoline, and petroleum products at the

Port of Davao and Sub-Port of Bauan, Batangas between June to November 2010. The Respondents were charged for having personal knowledge and direct participation in the operations of PHOENIX, including the processing and release of shipments that were already abandoned in favor of the Government for failure to file import entries within thirty (30) days from discharge of the goods.

The said 24 April 2013 Resolution resolved the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Complainant BUREAU OF CUSTOMS (BOC), and reversed the earlier Resolution dated 16 November 2012 which, in turn, affirmed, on automatic review, a Resolution dated 14 January 2012 dismissing the Complaint.

Secretary De Lima resolved that, contrary to respondent Dennis Ang Uy's contention that he was deprived of his constitutional right to due process of law, "the charges against him have never been changed and remain to be the same. If, at all, the BOC's Reply to respondent Dennis Ang Uy's Comment/Opposition merely amplified the basis of these charges. The matters raised are not entirely new as they are borne out by the records, either from the annexes of the Amended Complaint submitted by the BOC or the annexes of the Counter-Affidavit submitted by the respondents".

Further, it was also pointed out that "the essence of due process is the reasonable opportunity to be heard" and that his Urgent Verified Motion for Reconsideration, which has been entertained, "was his reasonable opportunity to be heard." However, instead of availing of said opportunity in order to rebut or "traverse the alleged new allegations", said Urgent Verified Motion for Reconsideration, "merely harped on the issue of his alleged failure to file his Rejoinder to the Reply".

The Department also ruled that Section 9 of the 2000 NPS Rule on Appeal provides that, unless the Secretary of Justice directs otherwise, the appeal shall not hold the filing of the corresponding information in court on the basis of the finding of probable cause in the appealed resolution. "Thus, no legal objection can be raised against the directive contained in the 24 April 2013 Resolution for the [Office of the Prosecutor General] to 'cause the filing of the appropriate Information for Violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) against the respondents', while the issuance of warrant of arrest is a matter that belongs to the court, and not to this Office".

Thus, Respondent Uy's Urgent Verified Motion for Reconsideration is now denied with finality.

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