Police Lieutenant Colonel Rae Charles Enrile, the commander of the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) in Palawan.

[Updated] The chief of the maritime police has refuted allegations of complicity with smugglers involved in the illegal transportation of goods, products, or contraband beyond Palawan’s borders.

Commander of the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG), Police Lieutenant Colonel Rae Charles Enrile, firmly refuted on Monday any association between his personnel, specifically those based in Southern Palawan, and the illicit transportation of food, cigarettes, and petroleum products from Malaysia through Mindanao

This comes after accusations were leveled against one of their personnel, who was suspected of providing assistance to smugglers, allowing them to avoid customs tariffs and fees while illegally importing products.

“Doon sa sinasabing nag-e-escort kami ng mga nag-i-smuggle ng sigarilyo, madaling sabihin po yan ng mga iligalista, pero hindi po totoo yan. Yes, I am denying that because I know for a fact na hindi totoo,” said Enrile.

“Ito pa ang totoo—isa sa tropa ko, nagkaroon na ng death threat. Napakarami ng death threat ng tao, halos araw araw mayroon din siyang hearing dahil sa smuggling na yan,” he added.

Enrile claimed that he was forced to remove the personnel from his assignment and send him to another town due to several death threats the maritime personnel has received, which he believes are from smugglers.

The maritime police chief also expressed surprise that, despite the circumstances, their personnel is still being accused of colluding with smugglers.

This month, dalawa yong smuggling operations na nahuli. Kaya gigil na gigil yong taong maghuli nyan kasi nga ginaganyan siya. At kung titingnan niyo yong text, ‘Paano naman kaming maliliit?’ Lumalabas na ang nagte-text niyan, yong nahuli,” Enrile said.

He stated that there is no other option but to believe that the smugglers are out to tarnish the said personnel and the maritime police because of their operations aimed at putting an end to their illegal activities.

Furthermore, he noticed a definite pattern: the text messages accusing them of assisting smugglers, which had begun in September 2022, abruptly ended when the personnel was reassigned, coinciding with the temporary stoppage of their operations targeting them.

Enrile issued a warning, stating that if they identify the individuals responsible for tarnishing their reputation in Palawan, he will not hesitate to take legal action against them.

Over the course of CY 2022, the maritime police achieved nine successful operations, leading to significant seizures of smuggled goods.

The operations carried out in CY 2022 included confiscating 25 master cases of cigarettes in January and 2 master cases of cigarettes in February. In March, their efforts intensified with the seizure of 7 drums and 18 containers of gasoline, as well as 20 and 24 master cases of cigarettes respectively.

August saw the interception of 6 master cases of cigarettes, while September resulted in the seizure of 40 master cases. The year concluded with a successful operation in November, which led to the confiscation of 15 drums of gasoline.

In CY 2023, he said the maritime police continued their anti-smuggling efforts with four more successful operations. January witnessed the seizure of 17 master cases of smuggled cigarettes, 2 drums of diesel, 30 plastic gallons of diesel and gasoline, 50 boxes of Maggi Kari, 36 pieces of Dark soya sauce, 3 boxes of Chingying, 7 bundles of Ken Sheng dried pancit noodles, 2 packs of K1000 powder detergent, and 3 bundles of Mimi junk food. May brought about the interception of 326 reams of cigarettes, while June witnessed the confiscation of 9 and 35 master cases of cigarettes in separate operations.

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