Pasig City judge suspended for ordering release of seized jewelry
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended a Pasig City judge for gross ignorance of the law after the judge ordered the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to release to a China-born British national seized jewelry worth millions of pesos.

The Third Division of the SC has suspended Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 167 Judge Rolando Mislang for six months without pay.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group  (PASG) against Tiu Sing Alpha Kwok for violating Section 3601 and 2530 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines.

The PASG arrested Kwok in Pasig City in August 2009, but the case against her was dismissed by Mislang on the ground of insufficiency of evidence.

Mislang also ordered the BSP and the officer who had custody of the seized jewelry to release the jewelry to Kwok even if the Bureau of Customs (BOC) had issued a warrant of seizure and detention.

Former PASG director Jeffrey Patawaran believed that Mislang should not have dismissed the case against Kwok or ordered the release of the seized jewelry.

In a five-paged resolution, the SC Third Division cited the opinion of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) that it is erroneous on the part of Mislang to direct the BSP, or the person in charge of the custody of the seized jewelry, to immediately release the items to Kwok. Mislang should have known that the “forfeiture of seized goods in the BOC is a proceeding against the goods and not against the owner.”

“Accordingly, while the accused in the unlawful importation case may turn out to have no criminal liability, it does not necessarily follow that the seized goods should also be automatically released,” the resolution read.

“Under the given circumstances, respondent Judge Mislang’s directive for the immediate release of the seized jewelries shows his ignorance of the law and settled jurisprudence,” it added.

ACIRC BANGKO SENTRAL BUREAU OF CUSTOMS JEFFREY PATAWARAN JUDGE MISLANG JUDGE ROLANDO MISLANG KWOK MISLANG OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR PASIG CITY THIRD DIVISION
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