‘Smuggling case vs Phoenix Petroleum violated due process’—lawyer

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MANILA, Philippines—The filing of smuggling case against Phoenix Petroleum, a leading independent petroleum company violated their right to due process and fair play, one of its officials said Thursday.

Phoenix Petroleum Vice President for External Affairs and Business Development lawyer Raymond Zorilla said they were surprised by the report that the Department of Justice reversed its decision and ordered the filing of smuggling case against them.

“We are further surprised considering that we have yet to file our Rejoinder to the BOC’s (Bureau of Customs) Reply before the Panel of Prosecutors when news of the alleged reversal have gone out,” Zorilla said in a text message.

“We insist on our right to due process and fair play as we seek to refute the allegations of the BOC who incidentally brought new allegations before the Panel that were not raised in the original proceedings. This a clear violation of established rules and jurisprudence for it contravenes due process and fair play,” he added.

The DoJ through Justice Secretary Leila De Lima reversed the Nov. 16, 2012 DoJ resolution that dismissed the case against Phoenix Petroleum President Dennis Ang-Uy and Customs Broker Jorlan Capin Cabanes.

The two, the resolution stated have 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 30 days from discharge of goods.”

On May 2011, the Bureau of Customs filed more than P5-billion smuggling case against Phoenix for non-payment of excise and value-added taxes, non-submission of import documents.

In 2009, Phoenix was ranked 211th among the countries top 10,000 corporations.

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