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)