NBI revives complaint vs alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revived the criminal complaint against alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan, also known as David Tan, who was accused of monopolizing the local rice trade.

The NBI refiled the complaint against Bangayan and 14 others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in September.

The investigating panel chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Eden Valdes is set to conduct a preliminary investigation on Thursday, October 12.

Bangayan and his alleged cohorts are accused of the following: 

Bangayan's co-respondents in the first charge are Judilyne Lim, David Lim, and Leah Echiveria of Cebu-based DGL Commodities; Elizabeth Faustino; as well as Eleanor Rodriguez.

For the second charge, Bangayan has 4 fellow respondents – Judilyne Lim, Echiveria, Faustino, and Rodriguez. (READ: Duterte on 'smuggler' Bangayan: I will gladly kill him!)

The other respondents in the complaint are Eugene Pioquinto, Mary Joyce Lim, Jason Colocado, Michael Villanueva, Denis Gonzales, Willy Sy, Sandra Lim, Gil Calipayan, and Inigo Espiritu.

The NBI alleged in its complaint that respondents conspired to use rice farmers "for the purpose of acquiring substantial allocations on the PSF-TES importation program" of the National Food Authority (NFA) "with the end-goal of monopolizing the supply of rice."

"The aforementioned individuals conspired or agreed to organize the farmers' cooperatives and organizations as well as other juridical personalities in order to monopolize the supply and distribution of rice through pre-arranged bidding and other false pretenses thereby preventing free competition in the market," the complaint reads.

"With the acts of subject Bangayan and company, the other capable individuals were denied of their share in the allocation of the rice importation."

The NBI alleged that the scheme cornered the NFA's rice import allocations in 2012, taking advantage of 25 farmers' organizations and cooperatives, as well as single proprietors who did not have funds and logistical capabilities. The farmers were supposedly used as dummies.

It was in 2015 when then justice secretary Leila de Lima returned the complaint against Bangayan and his co-respondents to the NBI for further gathering of evidence.

The complaint stemmed from the request of the Senate which conducted an inquiry into the alleged rice smuggling. – Rappler.com