The Department of Justice has approved the indictment of suspected rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan and five others for their involvement in a conspiracy to manipulate grain prices by using dummies to import rice.
READ: P300-m worth of smuggled rice seized in Bulacan
In a resolution dated Nov. 5, the DOJ said it found sufficient basis to hold Bangayan and his five co-respondents liable for monopolies and combinations in restraint of trade under Article 186, paragraph 3 of the Revised Penal Code.
The DOJ noted the respondents used farmers organizations as dummies to bid on importations conducted by the National Food Authority.
Bangayan’s five co-respondents are Elizabeth Faustino; spouses David and Judilynne Lim; Eleanor Rodriguez; and Leah Echeveria.
Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Miguel Gudio Jr. said there was also evidence that Bangayan was guilty of illegally using an alias, David Tan.
The DOJ said Bangayan’s denials were not enough to overturn the credible evidence gathered by the National Bureau of Investigation that he did use the alias David Tan.
The NBI, which filed the complaint before the DOJ, accused Bangayan and Faustino of involvement in transactions concerning the multi-purpose cooperatives Riverview, Umasaka, Sitio Muzon, Sta. Cecilia, Formosa, and GPI San Miguel.
On the other hand, the Lim, Rodriguez and Echeveria, all of DGL Commodities, were involved in the transactions of multi-purpose cooperatives Kapatirang Takusa, Ugnayang Magbubukid ng San Isidro, Inc., Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalugan, and Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Kalawitan.
Senator JV Ejercito welcomed the DOJ decision, saying that finally, a “big fish” in the rice cartel would be charged under a law he drafted, the Anti Agricultural Smuggling Law.
The DOJ must ensure that it has a strong case, Ejercito said.
READ: Rice import lib draws support from solon
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