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Alleged rice smuggler Bangayan insists: I’m not David Tan

MANILA, Philippines – Alleged smuggler Davidson Bangayan appeared at the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, October 30, to file his counter-affidavit insisting that there was no evidence to prove he was the "David Tan" accused of monopolizing the local rice trade.

Earlier this month, the National Bureau of Investigation revived the complaint against Bangayan and 14 others. They are accused of monopolizing the rice trade, bid fixing, and using fictitious names.

But Bangayan insisted that he was not the David Tan named in intelligence information as a big-time rice smuggler. (READ: DOJ indicts Davidson Bangayan for perjury)

"I am categorically denying that I am 'David Tan' who supposedly was the 'financier' of certain cooperatives. My name is Davidson Bangayan. I was born out of wedlock to my parents Victoria Bangayan and Dy Ting Ham. Considering my illegitimacy, I am using my mother's surname in all my personal and business dealings," Bangayan said in the 23-page counter-affidavit submitted to the DOJ prosecution panel.

While Bangayan has repeatedly denied that he was David Tan, then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte told a Senate panel in 2014 there was “no doubt” that Tan and Bangayan were the same person.

Duterte said he would "gladly kill" Bangayan if the latter unloaded smuggled goods in Davao City.

Rice trade

The NBI accused Bangayan of conspiring with farmers and farmer cooperatives “to monopolize the supply and distribution of rice through pre-arranged bidding and other false pretenses thereby preventing free competition in the market.”

But Bangayan argued that he could not be held liable for bid fixing if he did not directly participate in any bids inside the National Food Authority (NFA).

He added that even if it was proven that he helped cooperatives who joined the NFA bidding, the act alone was not a crime.

"Nowhere in the bidding documents released by the NFA was it prohibited for bid participants such as cooperatives or private entities to seek financial aid from others," Bangayan said.

In 2015, the DOJ returned the complaint against Bangayan to the NBI to gather more evidence. Bangayan said the NBI failed to do that. 

"Indeed, without any new competent and credible evidence, the complaint which two years ago lacked evidence, remains the same – that is, still lacks evidentiary support," Bangayan said. Rappler.com