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House to probe P6.8-billion shabu smuggled from China, Taiwan
Bureau of Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña and PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino extract the alleged shabu worth P3.4 billion inside steel cases during a press conference at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) in Port Area, Manila on August 7, 2018. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

House to probe P6.8-billion shabu smuggled from China, Taiwan

MANILA: The House committee on dangerous drugs is set to conduct an investigation into the P6.8 billion worth of shabu or methamphetamine smuggled into the country from China and Taiwan.

The hearing will be held at 10 am on Tuesday, August 14, at the Belmonte Hall of the Batasang Pambansa.

Officials from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) are expected to attend.

A total of 1,000 kilograms of shabu are believed to have recently slipped past authorities in the Philippines despite coordinated efforts of the PDEA, BOC, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Two lifters containing 500 kilograms of shabu were first recovered by the PDEA and BOC at the Manila International Container Terminal on August 7. On August 10, another 4 lifters were found at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez in Cavite, but the containers were already empty. They were estimated to contain 1,000 kilograms of shabu worth P6.8 billion.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has said, however, that they still have to validate the amount of shabu that supposedly got away since the containers were empty.

The PDEA believes that a certain international drug group, the Golden Triangle Syndicate, is behind the shipment.

Officials raised the possibility that the drugs were already smuggled to another country, considering that the Philippines is a transshipment point in the world drug trade.

Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo, an opposition lawmaker, called the smuggling case “simply shocking.”

“I find this completely unacceptable that incidents like these continue to happen despite supposed reforms which the Bureau of Customs undertook in the aftermath of last year’s similar P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case as well as the gargantuan intelligence budgets provided by Congress to both the BOC and PDEA,” he said.

Quimbo filed House Resolution No. 2068 on Monday, asking the dangerous drugs committee to conduct a probe into the matter.

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano also slammed the smuggling of the P6.8-billion shabu into the country, calling it a “big blow” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

“Patuloy ang pagpasok ng tone-toneladang droga mula sa ibang bansa habang patuloy din ang mga patayan dito sa atin. Nakakapagtaka na sa loob ng dalawang taon na pagtutok ng administrasyon ay nangyayari pa rin ito na naiisahan ang ating mga otoridad,” said the opposition lawmaker.

(Tons of drugs from other countries keep on entering the country as the killings continue. I am puzzled that in the two years of this administration, our authorities are still always one step behind.)

In May 2017, another P6.4 billion worth of shabu was also smuggled into the country from China, sparking probes both at the House and the Senate. It prompted Duterte to seek a “revamp” and “revitalize” the BOC. (READ: #AnimatED: Bilyunang shabu ang nakapuslit, Presidente ay di galit?)

His son, former Davao City vice mayor Paolo Duterte, and son-in-law Manases Carpio were allegedly involved the P6.4-billion shabu shipment case from China.

But the Office of the Ombudsman’s special fact-finding panel already cleared Paolo Duterte and Carpio from the allegations. The panel recommended further investigation against resigned BOC commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.