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Sanyo Seiki steel firm asks BoC chief to suspend 7 personnel accused of extortion

MANILA, Philippines—Sanyo Seiki Stainless Steel Corp. has asked Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon to implement a Malacañang order dismissing seven anti-smuggling personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) for alleged extortion.

Sanyo Seiki, which accused the anti-smuggling customs personnel of extorting the company, wondered why the seven, former members of the Run After the Smugglers Team of the BOC, have been seen reporting for work again lately.

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The steel firm, led by the company’s legal counsel and former Solicitor General Frank Chavez, filed a manifestation before the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, asking it to make Customs Commissioner Biazon explain

Sources from the BoC confirmed that seven out of the eight anti-smuggling personnel dismissed by the Palace in January for alleged extortion have reported back to work.

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They said the personnel were able to return because they filed an appeal with the Palace. Technically, the sources said, they could continue reporting for work pending a decision by the Palace on their appeal.

The eight customs personnel dismissed by the Palace are the following: Gregorio Chavez—former deputy commissioner and head of the RATS—and his staff Christopher Dy Buco, Edgar Quiñones, Francisco Fernandez Jr., Alfredo Adao, Jose Elmer Velarde, Thomas Patric Relucio, and Jim Erick Acosta.

Of the eight, only Chavez is no longer reporting for work. The BOC has already appointed his replacement.

Sanyo Seiki said the seven’s return to work defeated the purpose of the cases filed against them.

“We appeal to Commissioner Biazon to take prudence and uphold Malacañang’s order by justly acting on the blatant defiance of these disgraced BoC officials returning to their posts,” Niel Rapatan, a lawyer and member of Sanyo Seiki’s legal team, said in the statement.

“This only shows how brazen these individuals are. It is as if nothing happened and they are free to go on their merry ways,” Rapatan said.

Sanyo Seiki accused the eight former members of the RATS team of extortion. The steel firm said the customs personnel would ask for huge sums of money in exchange for leaving the company alone.

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Sanyo Seiki has a pending smuggling case before the Department of Justice.

Sanyo Seiki claims that the smuggling case was filed by the RATS team because the steel firm did not agree to give another set of grease money. It said that in the past, it was forced to give a total of P15 million in grease money due to extortion activities of the smuggling personnel.

The dismissed personnel, however, insisted that Sanyo Seiki is a big-time smuggler of steel products.

They said their dismissal was unjust, claiming that Sanyo Seiki might have influenced high-ranking government officials.

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, crime, extortion, law and justice, Philippines, Sanyo Seiki Stainless Steel Corp.
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