Hundreds of seized sacks of sugar disappear; angry mayor wants probe PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 10 January 2015 13:23

Mayor Beng Climaco has called for an immediate investigation on the whereabouts of unaccounted sacks of sugar seized by barangay, police and military officials on January 6 and turned over to the Bureau of Customs Wednesday.

In an inspection by the mayor Friday morning (Jan. 9), only 325 out of the total 1,170 (combined inventory of police and Coast Guard) sacks remain at the BOC warehouse at the port area.

The mayor is enraged over this discrepancy stressing that “everything must have been at the BOC’s custody to account”.

The port police informed the mayor that earlier yesterday several people came by to retrieve the seized sugar from the warehouse purportedly per instructions from the mayor. The PPA however did not honor the verbal request.

“I will not tolerate the use of my name for smuggling activities. I will not tolerate smuggling and all other illegal activities and all those accountable must be held liable for this (discrepancy),” The mayor declared.

Last Wednesday the mayor wrote Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla questioning the delay in the response of the Zamboanga Customs Office to efforts by the police and military authorities to turn over the seized items. The sugar items were discovered aboard M/L Ylaeza Maye V intercepted by the authorities off the waters in Sangali and Bolong 9am of January 6.

From the site, the seacraft, escorted by Coast Guard, Police and Army troops, was brought to the PPA wharf around 8:10pm the same day. The vessel, cargoes and crew were formally received by a representative from the Zamboanga Bureau of Customs only at 9am of Wednesday (Jan. 7) or 12 hours after the items arrived at the port area.

“The response from the Customs Collector came 12 hours after. We have to show fast action versus smuggling,” said the mayor.

The investigation, per recommendation of the City Legal Officer, was held 4pm yesterday. — Sheila Covarrubias