4 indicted over Canadian waste shipment

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - March 1, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to file criminal charges against four personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for allegedly allowing the entry of tons of hazardous waste from Canada in 2013.

In a 16-page resolution, the DOJ-National Prosecution Services recently recommended the filing of charges against Customs examiners Benjamin Perez Jr. and Eufracio Ednaco, and appraisers Matilda Bacongan and Jose Saromo for violating Republic Act 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.

The respondents reportedly facilitated the entry of the Canadian waste that were misdeclared as plastic scrap materials.

The DOJ said the respondents should have known that the contents of the shipments were hazardous as they claimed they personally examined it.

“When they rerouted the shipments to ‘green,’ they effectively facilitated the importation of hazardous waste into the Philippines,” the DOJ said.

In the same resolution, the DOJ dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaint filed against former Environment Management Bureau chief Juan Miguel Cuna and EMB employees Irvin Cadavona, Geri Geronimo Sañez and Renato Cruz.

Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman cleared Cuna of the same offense.

The DOJ also dropped the graft complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation-Environmental Crime Division Investigative Service against the eight respondents for insufficiency of evidence.

Records showed that from May 2013 to January 2014, Canadian firm Chronic Inc. exported 103 shipping containers to the Philippines.

The shipments were consigned to two local companies, Chronic Plastics and Live Green Enterprise, which received 55 and 48 shipping containers, respectively.

The shipments were later found to contain mixed materials that were declared as plastic scraps.

The garbage was shipped back to Canada in 2019 on orders of President Duterte.

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