Alleged rice smuggler arrested after Senate hearing

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The Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation or NBI arrested alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan Monday, right after a Senate hearing on his illegal operations. This came after the Senate agriculture and food committee held Bangayan in contempt for lying that he is not David Tan. Committee chair Cynthia Villar said the panel also asked the foreign affairs department to cancel Bangayan’s passport. The NBI used an existing arrest warrant for an electricity pilferage case, where Bangayan is one of the 3 accused. He filed bail soon after. Bangayan is accused of using farmers’ cooperatives as fronts to import rice under the agriculture department’s Minimum Access Volume program. The scheme is illegal because it negates the purpose of the program which is to help farmers. During the hearing, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte confirmed Bangayan is the alleged big-time rice smuggler. The mayor holds up a photo to identify Bangayan as the face provided by Davao’s intelligence community. He also threatens the alleged smuggler. “I said, starting now, for all you who come to town carrying smuggled goods, I’ll shoot all of you.”

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