CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/29 May) — Two members of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) allegedly acted as dealers of the big bikes of alleged smuggler Lynard Allan Bigcas, reports reaching Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez (2nd district), said he wants to dig deeper into this issue and will include in the Congressional hearings the alleged complicity of members of the city’s police force.
Sr. Supt. Gerardo Rosales, Cocpo director, admitted they have investigated two police officers who had in their possession two big bikes owned by Bigcas that were later surrendered to authorities after the alleged smuggling operations of Bigcas was discovered on May 4.
Rosales, however, declined to name the police officers and even hinted that they are off the hook. “Wala pa namang nakitang may sala sa smuggling and the two police officers upon learning that the big bikes in their possession could be smuggled vehicles, they turned it over to authorities,” Rosales said.
He said that upon investigation, the two police officers admitted they were acting as dealers of the big bikes. One is a childhood friend of Bigcas who said they were “selling the big bikes on behalf of Bigcas,” Rosales said.
Bigcas, who owns a freight forwarding business in the US, is facing criminal charges for alleged smuggling and illegal possession of firearms. He is now being investigated by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.
Bigcas’ alleged smuggling operations of high end vehicles and custom-made motorcycles was uncovered by a joint operation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the PNP Regional Office upon tips from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The FBI in their communication with Philippine authorities confirmed that at least seven of the more than 20 vehicles seized from Bigcas in raids in his home in Talakag, Bukidnon and his rented house in Kauswagan this city were stolen from the US.
One of the bikes, a U$80,000 custom made Martin Brothers motorcycle belonged to Hollywood writer Skip Woods (X-Man, Swordfish). US authorities said the big bike of Woods was stolen in Houston, Texas four years ago.
Rep. Bambi Emano, Misamis Oriental (1st district), said he wants the operations of the Mindanao Container Port in his hometown Tagoloan investigated.
“I want investigations in all levels, in the Bureau of Customs, the Ombudsman and in the House of Representatives to continue,” Emano told MindaNews.
“It is a shame that after all efforts were made to have the international container port in Tagoloan, possible illegal activities are made,” Emano said.
An official of the Bureau of Customs in Northern Mindanao admitted that, indeed, there could be loopholes in the screening of container vans especially if it comes from the US.
“Because of our preferential trade relations with the US, goods coming from there are classified a double green which means minimal inspection is done,” said the Customs official who asked not to be named as he lacks clearance to comment on the matter.
He added that they will cooperate with Congress, if Congress wants to review this policy and institute corrective measures through legislation.
The MCP and the BOC got involved in the alleged smuggling of Bigcas after the name of Customs Collector Atty. Noah Dimaporo was seen in the alleged “black book” of Bigcas which was one of the items seized by authorities from his home.
Dimaporo has since then been relieved from his post as Customs Collector in the MCP and has been replaced by Customs Collector Emerlito Aquino.
The Congressional investigation resumes today (Monday) in the House of Representatives. Committee Chairperson Rep. Rodolfo Farinas had warned Bigcas of facing contempt from Congress if he fails to show up in Monday’s hearing. He was a no show in the hearing last week. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)