Members of environmental group Greenpeace protest human trials for genetically modified rice in front of the Bureau of Plant Industry in Manila on Tuesday. The group is urging government to cease human trials until the rice variety is scientifically proven to be fit for human consumption. (MNS photo)

Members of environmental group Greenpeace protest human trials for genetically modified rice in front of the Bureau of Plant Industry in Manila on Tuesday. The group is urging government to cease human trials until the rice variety is scientifically proven to be fit for human consumption. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Another rice importing firm linked to alleged big-time rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan aka “David Tan” was charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly smuggling in over P626 million worth of rice from Singapore and Thailand.

Charged by the Bureau of Customs on Thursday in four separate complaints are Medaglia De Oro, its owner, Emmanuel Santos, as well as the firm’s customs brokers Denise Kathryn Rosaroso, Raquel Sildora Cabasag, Emilio Chio, Myrene Noynay Sollano, Gemma Garcia, Melvin Isagan, John Kevin Cisneros, Eduardo Borje III, and Kenneth Quial.

Customs Commissioner John Sevilla bared that De Oro imported the subject rice shipment between July and August of 2013 in the Port of Manila, Port of Cebu, Mindanao Container Terminal, and Port of Davao.

The first shipment, which arrived at the Port of Manila, had a volume of 912,500 kg. The next shipment, which arrived at the Port of Cebu, totalled 11.1 million kg; while the next totaled 700,000 kg, and arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal. The last shipment, which arrived at the Port of Davao, totaled 2.9 million kg.

De Oro, which was linked to Bangayan during the hearings and first report of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, is the fourth firm with alleged ties to the businessman to be charged by the BOC with smuggling. The first three charged were Bold Bidder, Silent Royalty, and Intercontinental Grains Trading, Inc.

According to the Senate committee, five major rice importing firms have links to Bangayan; the fifth is Starcraft.

Last August, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed several complaints against Bangayan and his alleged cohorts for violations of the provision of the Revised Penal Code on monopolies and restraint of trade; the Commonwealth Act No 142 (An Act to Regulate the Use of Aliases), as amended by Republic Act No 6085; and bid-fixing (violations of the Government Procurement Act). (MNS)