Thursday, February 26, 2015

Couple indicted for illegal possession, re-bagging of NFA rice
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, Feb. 25 (PNA) -- A panel of prosecutors has indicted a couple for unauthorized possession and re-bagging of government-subsidized rice of the National Food Authority (NFA).

Assistant Prosecutor Antonette Nacor, spokesperson of the Naga City Prosecutor’s Office, said the panel found probable cause that Joel and Sarah Jane Yao have violated the NFA rules and regulations and PD No. 4 as amended by PD No. 1485 when they were caught possessing hundreds of bags of NFA rice and re-bagging them for commercial trading in August last year.

Police Chief Inspector Errol Tecson Garchitorena Jr., former Criminal, Investigation and Detection Group chief in Camarines Sur, said the complainant was the head of the raiding team composed of police and NFA personnel.

Garchitorena was assigned to Sorsogon a week after the raid.

In a surprise inspection, the raiding team found the workers in a warehouse, registered under name of Sarah Jane Yao, re-bagging the NFA rice.

The warehouse is located inside a sprawling compound owned by the Yaos in Tabuco, Naga City.

The NFA confiscated 500 bags of NFA rice that were being transferred sack by sack to blue commercial sacks from sacks printed with NFA logo.

Nacor said the panel cited that NFA rules and regulations regarding grains business prohibit re-bagging, re-sacking of government stocks to commercial sacks and mislabeling NFA sacks.

The penalty of the offenses of the Yao couple is imprisonment of a minimum of one month but not more than six months and a fine of not less than Php1,000 or more than Php4,000, or both at the discretion of the judge, she disclosed.

In addition, Nacor said, the licenses of the couple to trade grains will be cancelled.

The members of the panel of prosecutors are Assistant Prosecutors Dina Aquino, Remedios Santonya and Arthur Carandang.

They submitted the resolution of the criminal cases against Yao couple on January 7.

Nacor said the cases against the Yaos are now under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Circuit Court of Naga City.

The NFA also cancelled the wholesale rice and warehouse license of Sarah Jane Yao, who was also fined Php15,000 in an administrative case decided in January for the same incident.(PNA) LAP/FGS/JME/CBD/