CABANATUAN City -- A rice trader in Nueva Ecija was slapped with charges of hoarding before the Gapan City Prosecutor’s Office in connection with the 34 bags of government rice and the 200 empty or used National Food Authority sacks that were seized during a raid conducted by a task group against those engaging in the illegal rice trade, hoarding and the illegal rebagging of NFA rice.
Charged with hoarding in relation to Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act before the Department of Justice was businessman Antonio R. Pangan, of Bgy. Malimba, Gapan City.
Dated Oct. 16, 2018, the case was docketed under NPS #III-06-INV-18J-00358 after the National Bureau of Investigation-Cabanatuan District Office headed by Pedro C. Roque Jr. forwarded its findings to the DoJ for the conduct of a preliminary investigation.
Complainants of the case were members of the task group composed of the NBI, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Nueva Ecija police, the PNP-RIU3, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and NFA-Nueva Ecija.
They were represented, respectively by Roque, SPO3 Ceferino Mesina, Chief Insp. Damaso Feliciano Jr., SPO2 Arnel Manalastas, Raul Atayde, the NFA regional senior enforcement and investigation officer and Genoveva Villar.
The charges stemmed from an inspection conducted by the task group on a rice mill owned by Pangan last Sept. 19.
During the said inspection, the task group which was formed to address unlawful activities concerning rice trading, found inside Pangan’s rice mill 34 bags of NFA rice and 200 used/empty NFA sacks.
The complaint said Pangan, a licensed rice miller, is engaged in the production, storage, transport, distribution and sale of rice but he is not an accredited NFA rice retailer and hence, he has no authority to possess NFA rice.
In claiming that the 34 bags of NFA rice were purchased from a trader for the consumption of his workers, the NBI refuted Pangan, saying he could have placed those NFA bags of rice in their other buildings outside the compound.
The filing of charges came a week after two Iligan City-based rice traders were nabbed for alleged hoarding of 40,000 bags of rice.
Acting NFA chief Tomas Escarez said the two traders were the first to be arrested in the intensified campaign against rice hoarding ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.