Agriculture Sec. Prosepero Alcala
Agriculture Sec. Prosepero Alcala

David Tan, Keyser Soze  & Sec. Proceso Alcala

News reports on the Php 6 billion rice smuggling allegedly orchestrated by a “certain” David Tan invites review of the movie, The Usual Suspects.

In the neo-noir film, 5 suspects involved in a smuggling syndicate were rounded up by the police for interrogation after a smuggling operation ended in a massacre in the Los Angeles port.

Kevin Spacey played the role of a syndicate member Kevin Fint who is stricken by cerebral palsy and who, while facing a tough police interrogation, wove a convoluted and complex tale of how the smuggling ended in a bloodbath, pointing to a mythical and mysterious mob boss named Keyser Soze as the mastermind.

Kevin Fint’s engaging and compelling narrative has so disarmed police investigators that they released Fint from detention only to realize too late that the homicidal genius Keyser Soze is no other than Fint himself.

The report on the Php 6 billion rice smuggling payoff resurrects fiction from the fact of rice smuggling in our country.

A certain David Tan has been demonized as Keyser Soze of rice smuggling that bedevils our rice supply.

David Tan has been vaguely described as a young, big-time private rice trader with expansive influence with the Bureau of Customs and with the National Food Authority; his name is almost used interchangeably with being the Rice Lord in the so-called rice cartel.

His name is almost a mainstay in past and present house and senate inquiries into the perennial issue of rice smuggling and existence of a rice cartel.

The problem with David Tan is that, for the power he supposedly wields, no photograph of him exists; neither do the compulsory processes of the House or the Senate can produce him in any congressional inquiry to elicit his testimony on the rice issue.

Having studied and monitored past and present rice importation scams, David Tan has become the contemporary, nominal bogeyman for the prevailing economic crimes of rice price manipulation, rice smuggling and rice importation overpricing whether committed by private rice traders or by the public sector through the National Food Authority which has virtually monopolized rice trade in the country.

Activist lawyer Argee Guevarra who filed plunder raps against Sec. Proceso Alcala and NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag believes that the surfacing of David Tan’s name in rice smuggling activities is a smokescreen for the “legitimized” public-sector rice smuggling being conducted by Sec. Proceso Alcala and NFA Chief Orlan Calayag thru their government-to-government rice importation schemes where they are accused of earning kickbacks from past G2G importation.

“By projecting David Tan as the bogeyman of rice smuggling and rice price manipulation and import overpricing, Sec. Alcala can pull a fast one over the Filipino people through the NFA’s monopolistic and cartel-like behavior in controlling rice trade in the country. By hiding behind the bogeyman, Sec. Alcala can continue with the usual conduct and commission of mythical criminality in the country’s rice trade and supply”, Guevarra said.



Atty.  Argee Guevarra