MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrests alleged rice smuggler Davidson Bangayan – also known as David Tan right after a Senate hearing on his illegal operations.
Ayee Macaraig reports.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: There is no doubt in this room. He is really the one.
The noose tightens on businessman Davidson Bangayan.
After the Senate established that he used dummies in importing rice Bangayan faces a new accuser, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte presents a photo from Davao intelligence officials of notorious rice smuggler David Tan. The mayor says Tan’s name came up in his investigation as the go-to guy for rice smuggling in Davao, Manila, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro.
Before lawmakers and law enforcers on live television the notorious mayor threatens the man supposedly in the photo.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, PHILIPPINE SENATOR: Sino siya? Ito? Si David Bangayan? (Who is he? Is this man David Bangayan)
RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: Yeah. Sabi ko ayaw ko simula ngayon sa lahat na may bumaba dito na smuggled goods, Sabi ko pagbabarilin ko kayo. (I said, starting now, for all you who come to town carrying smuggled goods, I’ll shoot all of you.) And if this guy would go to to Davao and start to goes unloading. I will gladly kill him! I’m old, And so we go to prison. I’m old your honor, I could spend the remaining days of my life in prison. I can do away with the stress by read books, while away my time.
Duterte says Bangayan has many modes of smuggling rice, including using poor farmers as fronts.
Like Duterte, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile is convinced Bangayan and Tan are the same person. He moves to cite Bangayan in contempt for lying citing his affidavit in a libel case saying he is “aka David Tan.”
DAVIDSON BANGAYAN, ALLEGED RICE SMUGGLER: Yes I’m denying because I signed Davidson Bangayan, not David Tan. Maybe my lawyer did not correct it. I saw my name, my company that’s why he said walang ibang nire-refer. (that’s why he said, they’re not referring to anyone else.)
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Hindi lang ito ang ebidensya kontra sa iyo na ikaw si David Tan. Maawa ka sa sarili mo. Ayaw kita saktan ayaw kong manakit ng tao. Sa committee sa Senado may reglamento dito di ka pwedeng magsinungaling. Kung nagsinungaling ka mapipilitan kaming parusahan ka ng contempt. (This is not the only evidence proving that you are David Tan. Have pity on yourself. I don’t want to hurt you. We’re still expecting some documents. You can’t lie here in the Senate. You’ll be punished for contempt.)
The Senate cites Bangayan in contempt, recommending the filing of a perjury case against him, and the cancellation of the passport.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has a surprise announcement of her own.
LEILA DE LIMA, JUSTICE SECRETARY: The NBI is ready to implement arrest warrant vs Bangayan as issued by RTC.
Investigators arrest Bangayan for a separate electricity pilferage case.
Just hours later, he walks free after posting bail.
De Lima admits the bureau has yet to file an airtight case against Bangayan for rice smuggling, but insists it has evidence and witnesses.
The justice chief draws flak from her fierce critic.
RODRIGO DUTERTE, DAVAO CITY MAYOR: The trouble with us in government is that we talk too much, act too slow and do too little. Let me ask. Don’t we? I heard it once said that what the country needs given these conditions is not more laws but more good men in public service. Let me ask again, do we subscribe to that?
De Lima shrugs off the criticism, vowing to pursue Bangayan, and other big-time rice smugglers.
Senators say their findings and the testimony of Mayor Duterte raise the pressure on the justice department to sue Bangayan for rice smuggling.
But the committee says the bigger challenge is to find and punish the customs and agriculture officials who connived with these big-time smugglers, and profited from this long-running problem. Ayee Macaraig, Rappler. – Rappler.com