Manila, March 18, 2003 -- The Presidential Security Group (PSG) with the assistance of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) recently seized some P2 million worth of "ukay-ukay" or used clothings purportedly owned by veteran newsman and dwIZ news anchor Rey Langit.

Col. Delfin Bangit, chief of the PSG, said the used clothings were contained in two 40-foot container vans that arrived from Hong Kong via Stenheim S115 and consigned to Philippine Connection Inc. which is owned and operated by the veteran newsman.

"The confiscated balikbayan boxes of Philippine Connection Inc. have no addresses and when verified they contained purely used clothings. If these are not smuggled goods why is it the balikbayan boxes do contain the names and addresses of the recipients," Bangit said.

Former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, in his radio program over dzEC, disclosed he had sufficient documents to prove Langit's Philippine Connection Inc. established in 1992 was involved in alleged rampant smuggling of used clothings coming from the United States, with the latter using influence and connections to a well-entrenched syndicates inside the Bureau of Customs.

Enrile said Langit's used clothings contained in balikbayan boxes were intended to be delivered to the latter's safehouse in Baguio City before they would be distributed in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

"He (Langit) has a lot of explaining to do. I have learned that his illegal activities already bore fruits since he has already four houses located in a posh village in Ayala, Alabang...and how will he explain the source of his luxury cars like Jaguar if not from his illegal activities," he said.

The former senator also disclosed he had received information that a senator is involved in smuggling operations. "There is a Kabayan Connection which is owned by this senator which should be investigated."

Enrile, who was then a Bureau of Customs chief from 1966 to 1968 said there is a need for the current administration to address rampant smuggling operations in the country which slowly kills the business of local manufacturers.

"During my time smuggled goods were usually loaded on airlines from the US in the guise of personal effects but we were able to curb this operation but now the inutile government of Mrs. Arroyo failed to perform its obligations with rampant smuggling operations which allegedly linked the First Couple," he said.

He added if the President is serious in addressing the problem she should conduct a thorough probe of the activities of the Bureau of Customs and forwarding firms that are now being used as a front for smuggling operations.

"You (Arroyo) should order 100 percent examination of all forwarding firms operations and investigate their personnel as well as balikbayan consolidators who are doing door-to-door deliveries because the way things are going with your poor performance in office and the Bureau of Customs as well had been ruining the livelihood of our people," he said.

The Tribune tried to reach Langit for comment but he was unavailable at press time. (Sherwin C. Olaes, Tribune)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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