Prosecutor: Police no authority to confiscate ukay ukay PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 03 April 2017 13:33

The Office of the City Prosecutor has dismissed a complaint lodged by the police against a trader for violation of commercial importation of used clothes, commonly known as “ukay ukay.”

The complaint stemmed from the recent confiscation by the Central Police Station of 18 bales of used clothing owned by a trader, identified as Joy Saluddin.

Subsequent to the seizure, Supt Ariel Huesca, Central Police Station Commander, filed a complaint against Saluddin for violation of Republic Act 4653, An Act to Safeguard the Health of the People and Maintain the Dignity of the Nation by declaring as a National Policy to Prohibit the Commercial Importation of Textile Articles commonly known as used clothing and rags..”

After a thorough examination of the evidence, the City Prosecutor’s Office reportedly found that the apprehending team led by Huesca was not able to secure a written authority from the Bureau of Customs to effect search and seizure to enforce the Tariff and Customs Code.

In a resolution written by Eva Aireen N. Monteza, Investigating Prosecutor, it said that under Section 2203 of the Tariff and Customs Code, Complainant Supt Huesca was not clothed with authority to effect the seizure of the used clothing.

As a result, the City Prosecutor’s Office ordered the Complaint dismissed and directed Huesca to turn over the 18 bales of ukay ukay to the Bureau of Customs for proper disposition.

The BOC however refused to accept the items citing Huesca’s failure to establish probable cause and the source of authority to conduct an anti smuggling operation.

In the absence of evidence, it is a waste of taxpayer’s money to institute seizure proceedings when the result would be dismissal of the case, according to Customs officials.

The Bureau of Customs is thus planning to file a protest with the PNP hierarchy in connection with the incident.

Huesca can also be held liable for violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for Usurpation of Authority or official function. (BOC PR, with reports from Raiza Dapilin)