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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Tulfo names ‘oil smugglers,’ slams BOC for turning blind

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Senate Energy committee chairman Senator Raffy Tulfo revealed the names of those implicated in oil smuggling during a hearing Thursday.

Tulfo identified the alleged oil smugglers as Don Rabonza who is known in Navotas; Sonny Qiu, Jackie Chu, Aron Uy and Lindon Tan in Batangas and Sariaya, Quezon; Alex Chua, Bogs Violago and Jong Mangundadatu and Dondon Alahas in Mariveles, Bataan.

Tulfo asked the Bureau of Customs (BoC) if they know these oil smugglers, but its representative, Special Agent Anthony Escandor said they do not know them.

In a press conference after the consultative meeting, Tulfo described as “reliable” his source on the oil smugglers.

He said some of the names are even on the radar of the BoC, and “they know about it (operations).”

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He said the BoC knows them, but they remain blind.

He also said it is likely that some of them have been charged, but still, “we do not know what happened to their cases.”

The senator related that oftentimes, the BoC filed charges, but nothing happened.

Tulfo said the BoC files charges against small fry but let big-time smugglers get away.

He said he would conduct a Senate probe or request his colleagues to investigate the matter. He said he would seek the attendance of those he identified as oil smugglers.

About 15 miles from the shorelines outside the Philippine territory, petroleum products from a ship are being transferred to barges and then moved to gas tankers docked at the pier like those found in Subic, Batangas and Navotas, Tulfo said.

He also said unscrupulous personnel of the BoC and the Philippine Coast Guard shared the “grease money” from this system, to the tune of P2.70 a liter.

Tulfo said the investigations should also tackle the government’s fuel marking program.

Last week, the BoC said it raised P231 billion from the government’s fuel marking program that aims to curb smuggling of petroleum products.

Fuel marking, which involves injecting chemical identifiers into tax-paid oil products, is being carried out under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law to curb smuggling of petroleum products.

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