Sen. Robin Padilla is seeking the death penalty against Bureau of Customs personnel and other law enforcement agencies who will violate the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Law.
Padilla bared his proposal, Senate Bill No. 2214, amending the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, during an ongoing Senate hearing on the alleged unabated agricultural smuggling.
“We have to send a strong message that the large-scale agricultural smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, and cartel of agricultural products perpetrated by the officers and employees of the Bureau of Customs, are heinous and a threat to the very foundation of our society. Hence, there is a compelling reason to impose death penalty,” Padilla said in his bill.
He added that “large-scale smuggling and other pernicious activities are threatening the lives of the people by pushing them further to the brink of poverty and putting our country in grave food insecurity. All these while our customs administration remains riddled by persistent corruption and perversity.”
Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture resumed the Senate hearing on the proposed amendments to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling law,
“With all the issues on smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, and cartel of agricultural products, it is baffling that no one is prosecuted,” Villar said, adding that “thus, hoarding, profiteering and cartel shall also be considered as economic sabotage under this amendatory law.”
Villar also wants to amend certain sections of Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, to include the acts of hoarding, profiteering and cartel of agricultural products as economic sabotage.
Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, was enacted to protect local agricultural industry and farmers from agricultural smuggling. “However, we could barely feel the positive impact of this law,” Villar said.
Early this year, Villar’s conducted a hearing on the soaring market price of onions. She said the hoarders, in collusion with a cartel, store these supplies in cold storage facilities to create a shortage so that the price would go up.
“This is a clear scenario of price manipulation,” Villar said.