Saturday, March 7, 2020

Passenger ‘Rodriguez’ faces raps for failure to declare $700,000

The Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges against a certain Simon John Rodriguez, similarly named as one of those identified by Sen. Richard Gordon during a hearing, for failure to declare $700,000 when he entered the country through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last year. Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ju-Haree Tolentino recommended the filing of charges against Rodriguez over the undeclared foreign currency, with a value of P36.5 million locally.

The resolution was dated Feb. 24 and released to the media on Thursday. Rodriguez was charged with violation of Section 1401(e) of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Circular No. 922, 2016, under Cross-Border Transfer of Local Currency in relation to RA 7653 or the New Central Bank Act. Tolentino found during the preliminary investigation that Rodriguez fraudulently brought into the Philippines the foreign currency as it was shown in surveillance footage, and that he directly proceeded to the exit gate of the terminal, instead of the customs declaration desk, where he was intercepted by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation supervisor. It was then that the cash inside his baggage was found. Rodriguez claimed that he was asked to carry the foreign currency by a friend from Singapore.

“Assessing such evidence, the tilt of the balance favors the complainants who were able to show that respondent failed to declare the USD700,000 currency notes in writing and to furnish information on the source and purpose of the transport of such currency,” the prosecutor’s resolution read in part. Rodriguez arrived at NAIA Terminal II in Pasay City on Sept. 26 at around 2:40 p.m.

Gordon had identified a certain Simon John Rodriguez for failure to declare foreign currency and was supposedly still allowed to travel multiple times. The senator, who heads the Blue Ribbon committee, said an estimated $633 million, or P32 billion in cash, entered the country in 890 transactions from September 2019 to March 2020 alone.