ILIGAN CITY —– Authorities intercepted Wednesday morning (November 25) boxes of fake cigarettes at the quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran town, in Lanao del Sur.
Barangay Pawak is the main entry from Lanao del Norte and Iligan City going to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur and Cotabato City.
A police report said a wing van was passing through a checkpoint where personnel of the Provincial Mobile Force Company Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office were conducting aregular quarantine checkpoint control.
Col. Rex Derilo, chief of LDS police, said the driver and his two helpers could not show quarantine passes and medical certificates which are required for commuters coming from outside the Bangsamoro region.
A thorough inspection of the van disclosed boxes of fake cigarettes hidden by packs of junked foods, according to Derilo.
Three persons, including the driver, were held in custody by the Saguiaran Municipal Police Station for further investigation.
They were identified as Owen Lestojas, Michael Chrysler Jhon Gonzaga and Reyson Tolla, all residents of Barangay Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City.
Police said the three were paid P300 each for this particulara delivery.
“Pangalan lang ng consignee ang ibinigay ng driver kasi yun daw ang ibinigay sa kanya. Hindi natin makontak and mobile number. The driver was allegedly instructed to drive the van to Saguiaran to deliver the good and receive their pay after which they could return home,,” Derilo said. (They were only given the name and the contact number of the consignee but we could not reached the number given to them).
Maj. Allan Benasing, chief of Saguiaran police, said the driver disclosed their trip originated from Initao, Misamis Oriental.
“Sabi nila from Cagayan de Oro City, they drove a different vehicle and upon reaching Initao, yung mga may maraming puno, they transferred the cargoes to the wing van which was intercepted in Saguiaran,” Benasing said. (They said they are coming from Cagayan de Oro City, they drove different vehicle and upon reaching Initao, that part with many trees, they transferred the cargoes to the wing van which was intercepted in Saguiaran.)
Angelo Andrade, information officer of Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cagayan de Oro, said around 80 master cases/boxes of fake cigarettes were inside the van. The Bureau of Customs has yet to determine the estimated value of the items.
“Fake siya kay walay mga documents,” Andrade said. (Those are fake because it has no documents.)
The driver and his two helpers underwent inquest proceedings at a court in Marawi City. They are facing violation of Republic Act 4712 or the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the Health and Quarantine Protocols.