Customs examiner convicted of graft

MANILA — The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) has convicted Bureau of Customs (BOC) examiner Dionisito Valles for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In its Feb. 2 decision, Manila RTC Judge Virgilio Macaraig sentenced Valles to a penalty of six years and one month to eight years of imprisonment with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The RTC found that on Dec. 7, 2006, Valles failed to conduct the inspection of a container van tagged as “red” import classification, which required a mandatory inspection or spot inspection of the goods.

As a result of the non-inspection, the consignee was able to import undeclared used items consisting of six motorcycles, 179 tires, four high beam suspensions, five axles, 12 compressors, 10 starters, and one Suzuki chassis.

In his defense, Valles said upon receipt of the Import Entry, “he proceeded to the Designated Examination Area (DEA), which is a restricted area, in order to conduct an actual examination of the cargo. While (trying) to locate the subject cargo, he noticed three heavily-built men who suddenly approached him and was told not to open the container van he was about to inspect. Otherwise, something unfortunate will happen to him.”

In rejecting Valles’ defense, the RTC said “this claim is unsubstantiated or uncorroborated.

“Accused had not encountered (any) similar threat before and after 2006. And second, the DEA is a secured government facility. Rather, this Court finds this reason as a mere afterthought and self-serving in order for the accused to absolve himself from the consequence of not doing his duty as customs examiner. As such, he acted with manifest partiality and gross inexcusable negligence,” the court said. Perfecto Raymundo, Jr./PNA –