49 individuals charged over P11-B shabu smuggling case except Lapeña

Marje Pelayo   •   December 13, 2018   •   4467

 

The magnetic lifters that allegedly concealed 1,618 kilograms of illegal drugs valued at P11-billion

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has filed charges against 49 individuals involved in the billion-peso shabu shipment concealed inside four magnetic lifters that slipped Customs screening in August.

Former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, however, was not among the respondents because according to PDEA, there wasn’t any strong evidence to prove Lapeña’s direct involvement in the transactions.

“We haven’t seen any evidence that will link directly former commissioner Lapeña sa mga kaso and that is why he was not included in filing of the case,” Aquino said.

“After this we will provide copies to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, (and) maybe with the Ombudsman.  I think they have more authority to file administrative cases,” he added.

Among the main respondents in the complaint are some officials of PDEA, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to include Former Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto; Former PDEA Dir. Gen. For Administration Ismael Gonzales Fajardo; Former Customs Intelligence Agent Jimmy Guban; Police Inspector Lito Pirote; and Joseph Dimayuga for alleged conspiracy and negligence in handling of the said shipment.

The PDEA noted that they included Guban in the case despite him being under the state’s witness protection program.

“We actually consider him as principal person of interest or suspect so I don’t think we will recommend his inclusion in the WPP,’ said Director IV Czareanah Aquino of the PDEA Legal Prosecution Service

In a text message, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured to get into the root of the matter.

“We’ll evaluate the matter seriously,” he said.

The case stemmed from the inquiry conducted by both Houses of Congress which revealed names of personalities, including some Chinese nationals, corporate entities and high-ranking PDEA officials allegedly involved in the said illegal transaction.

A total of 335 kilograms of shabu were discovered in August 7, 2018 at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

A day after, a similar shipment estimated at 1,618 kilograms of illegal drugs valued at P11-billion were discovered concealed in four magnetic lifters inside an abandoned warehouse in Barangay F. Reyes, General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Cavite . The series of operations yielded the biggest illegal drugs haul in the country to date. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

PDEA, PNP okay with VP Robredo’s dismissal from ICAD

Marje Pelayo   •   November 25, 2019

(L-R) PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, Vice President Leni Robredo and Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it respects President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to fire Vice President Leni Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

“PDEA respects and believes in the wisdom of the President,” PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, also the ICAD chairperson, said in a statement Sunday (November 24).

“Whatever happens, PDEA will continue to carry out its mandate to rid the country of illegal drugs with utmost sincerity and integrity,” he assured.

Philippine National Police (PNP), likewise, said it supports the President’s decision and assures that the campaign against high profile drug personalities will continue with utmost respect for human rights.

“The President has spoken,” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said.

“The PNP respects the decision of the President terminating the services of Vice President Leni Robredo as ICAD co-chair,” he added.

President Duterte fired Robredo as ICAD co-chair barely three weeks after he appointed her to the position.

In two weeks, the vice president has met with members of the private sector, representatives of various government agencies, religious groups and with officials of the United Nations (UN) to consult on how the government would treat the illegal drugs problems in the country.

But Malacañang noted several ‘missteps’ in Robredo’s actions such as her meeting with UN and her request to have access on classified information or the list of high value drug targets.

Earlier in Robredo’s appointment to ICAD, Duterte said he would fire her if confidential information leaked especially to foreign authorities. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

Beware of ‘love scams’ this holiday season — BOC

Marje Pelayo   •   November 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Ber months mark the beginning of gift giving traditions which technology has made faster and easier nowadays.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC), however, once again warns the public against online scammers targeting online users’ hard-earned money.

Calling it ‘love scam,’ the BOC calls on the public not to be swayed by the email address – boccarephilgvt@tech-center.com – that operates on such schemes.

The BOC said it is a fake or bogus e-mail that victimizes online users by asking them to pay through personal bank account or money remittance in order to claim a package.

The agency urges the public to call the BOC Hotline numbers (02) 8705-6000, 09052997977, 09295035138 if they encounter such bogus e-mails or to confirm if the package being offered is from legitimate sources.

Inquiries may also be sent to the agency’s official e-mail address boc.cares@customs.gov.ph.

PDEA probes online shop for selling ‘tooters’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Drug operatives discovered that some drug paraphernalia could be easily bought through online shops.

On Thursday (September 19), agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized over P600,000 worth of illegal drugs in two separate buy-bust operations in Pasig and Quezon City.

Juan Carlos Reyes Antonio, a licensed pharmacist, was caught in possession of suspected marijuana and ecstasy tablets along with other drug paraphernalia inside a hotel in Pasig City around 2:30 AM on Thursday (September 19).

The illegal drugs were valued at P483,000.

Meanwhile, another suspect Nilo Manipon Ramirez Jr., a registered nurse, was nabbed at around 4:20AM along Kamuning Road in Quezon City.

Ramirez was caught in possession of P142,000-worth of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Antonio bought his ‘tooters’ through an online shop.

“Dalawang transaksyon. Either iyong kliyente [ang] pumupunta sa hotel at doon na sila nagja-jamming or they just buy online (Two possibilities. Either the client goes to the hotel where they jam or they just buy online). explained PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.

The official assured to subject the said shop to an investigation before they act on the matter.

Aquino noted that it is prohibited to sell ‘tooters’ may it be in stores or online because it is an item being used solely in illegal drugs.

“I’ll just wait for their explanation first and then kung ano’t-ano man ang kalalabasan (whatever comes out of the investigation) then we will file a case against them,” Aquino said.

A delivery company is currently being investigated by PDEA on reports that it caters delivery of illegal drugs. — MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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