THE special “hotline” launched last month by the Intelligence Group (IG) of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has started to bear result with the apprehension this week of two bogus customs personnel claiming to represent the office of IG deputy commissioner, Raniel Ramiro.
Ramiro said that just days after the launching of the BoC-IG’s ‘8484’ text hotline last August 13, they received a text complaint alleging that some of his men are engaged in extortion activities with the promise of facilitating the release of shipments placed under alert by the bureau.
The complainant, “Moriel Trading,” claimed they had already given some P48,000 cash to a certain ‘Jerry’ and one ‘Noel Panganiban’ purportedly to speed up the release of his shipments totalling 32 containers.
Ramiro said they immediately arranged for a case conference with the complainant last August 23, the day of the supposed third payment to the suspects and moved the transaction last Monday, September 2.
The official said nabbed after receiving the P43,000 marked money at the parking lot of a mall in Manila were Gerardo ‘Jerry’ Bundalian and his accomplice, Noel Panganiban, both of legal age. Both are not employees of the BoC, the official stresssed.
The two were arrested by a composite team coming from the BoC-IG, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and, the Philippine Coast Guard.
Ramiro added they are still conducting “forensic examination” of the suspects’ mobile phones after they found some 80 names of individuals with transactions with the BoC.