Taguba, 8 others indicted for breaking Tariff Code in shabu case

INDICTED. Mark Taguba admits to giving grease money to officials and working for high-paying clients to fasttrack shipments in the Bureau of Customs. Photo by Lito Boras/Rappler

INDICTED. Mark Taguba admits to giving grease money to officials and working for high-paying clients to fasttrack shipments in the Bureau of Customs.

Photo by Lito Boras/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted customs broker Mark Taguba and 8 others for allegedly breaking the Tariff Code in relation to the P6.4-billion shabu shipment smuggled into the Philippines in 2017.

The 9 individuals allegedly violated Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), which prohibits the "misdeclaration, misclassification, and undervaluation" of imported goods.

In its resolution, the DOJ said the actions of the respondents showed there was "conspiracy" in bringing the shipment into the Philippines from China in May 2017 despite their denials. 

"Respondents' defense that they were not aware that the shipment they received contained dangerous drugs deserves scant consideration," it said. 

"What matters is that they committed act/s which has a vital connection to the chain of conspiracy, that without such act, the unlawful importation would be unsuccessful," DOJ sadded.

Mark Taguba had previously admitted to giving grease money to officials and working for high-paying clients to fast-track shipments in the Bureau of Customs.

Also indicted for violating provisions of the CMTA are: 

According to the DOJ, the respondents were indicted in relation to an offense punishable under CMTA because they "received and facilitated the transportation of [shabu] to its final destination."

In November 2017, the justice department also charged the alleged middlemen before the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court with importation of illegal drugs. It cleared former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other Customs officials.

The controversy has been the subject of marathon congressional hearings in 2017. – Rappler.com