DOJ indicates Success, 7 others in case of sending shabu



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Lapeña acquitted himself of administrative charges, but filed a complaint of endorsement to the ombudsman

MANILA-(UPDATED) Prosecutors in the Justice Department indict former police officer Eduardo Acierto, former deputy head of the Philippines's Drug Control Department, Ismael Fajardo Jr., and Jimmy Guban of the Customs Office (BoC) on charges of illegal drugs . shabu shipments of billions of pesos that allegedly passed through customs after being hidden inside magnetic lifters.

In a resolution dated April 8, extracts obtained by the media on Wednesday, a panel of prosecutors led by assistant prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat recommended the illegal importation of dangerous drugs – under Section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Act – against Acierto, Fajardo, Guban and 5 others about two incidents of smuggling of shabu.

They also endorsed the Ombudsman's Office for criminal prosecution for corruption and negligence in the prosecution of offenses against former customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

But they recommended firing drug smuggling accusations against more than 40 others, made up of customs officials, transporters, consignees and brokers implicated in the scandal, as well as the dismissal of other administrative and criminal complaints for lack of probable cause.

CENTRAL CONSPIRATORS

Succeeding, Fajardo and Guban were identified by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as the main conspirators in the criminal and administrative complaints they presented to the DOJ in January of this year.

At the time that shipments of magnetic lifters were made in August 2018, Fajardo was deputy director of administration of the OAS PDEA and regional director of NCR, Acierto was a dismissed police officer who was previously vice president of operations of PNP Anti-Illegal Drug. Special Task Force, and Guban was a BOC career intelligence officer.

The NBI said the 3 knew about shipments of shabu from Malaysia.

"Instead of alerting all ports, DDGA Fajardo and Guban did not make the necessary coordination to intercept the cargo, because they knew that the cargo belonged to or was connected to the Cel Acierto," the NBI said.

"What is worse is the fact that, despite the joint operations of the PNP and the PDEA, the four lifters were not intercepted in Region 4."

Hit recently left the hideout to accuse Duterte's former economic adviser, Michael Yang, of involvement in the illegal drug trade. He also claimed that the president himself ignored reports about Yang's activities.

He said he was being raised and implicated in the case of loading magnetic shabu after sending a report to the then head of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Ronald dela Rosa, and to the head of the PDEA, Aaron Aquino, detailing the alleged illegal activities of Yang .

Dela Rosa had recognized that Acierto approached him once upon Yang, but denied his credibility.

Aquino, on the other hand, admitted to having seen the report, but said he had difficulty validating the information.

Guban, meanwhile, testified in the Senate and accused Acierto of asking for his help to smuggle the shabu into the country. It is currently under DOJ's witness protection program.

Fajardo did not appear and, as Acierto, did not participate in the DOJ investigation.

HOW BEGAN

The case was the result of the discovery of two abandoned magnetic lifters at the Manila port in August 2018, which contained 355 kg of shabu worth P2.4 billion.

A day later, 4 similar lifters were discovered abandoned at a warehouse in the town of Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, which the PDEA believes has contained 1.6 tons of shabu, estimated at about 11 billion pesos.

The two incidents were the subject of several hearings in the Senate and House, with Lapeña initially denying that the magnetic lifters found in Cavite contained shabu, only to admit later.

In August 2018, the PDEA filed a complaint of illegal drug importation against four respondents involved in the shipment of shabu in the port of Manila.

In December 2018, the PDEA filed criminal complaints against more than 40 respondents about the loading of shabu in Cavite. Respondents included Acierto, Fajardo and Guban, but Lapeña was excluded because the PDEA said they found no evidence linking him to shabu smuggling.

In January, the NBI filed complaints of illegal drug imports, corruption and serious misconduct against the three, while assaulting Lapeña and other authorities with two counts of violation of the Anti-Graft Law and Corruption Practices and administrative complaints of abandonment of duty and serious bad conduct.

The DOJ has consolidated all three complaints.

OTHER INDICATED

The other five personalities to be accused of illegal import of dangerous drugs are:

-Chan Yee Wah Albert also known as KC Chan / Chan Fhonie / Albert Chan / Chen Fong Hsiang

-Zhou Quan aka Zhang Quan / Zhauq Quan

-Vedasto Baraquel, Jr.

-Maria Lagrimas Catipan

-Emily Liquingan

All five were allegedly behind VECABA Trading, the consignee of the two unclaimed magnetic lifts at the Port of Manila, where they found 355 pounds of shabu worth P2.4 billion.

LAPEÑA

In the same resolution, the DOJ rejected the complaint of misconduct against Lapeña, but endorsed the allegations for violation of the Anti-Graft Law and Corrupt Practices Act and neglected to prosecute violations under the Revised Penal Code to the Office of the Preliminary Investigation Ombudsman . .

The NBI blamed Lapeña for its alleged failure to file complaints against consignees, importers and brokers involved in importing magnetic lifters.

But in his counter-testimony, Lapeña listed the steps he took immediately after the discovery of magnetic lifters: setting up a research committee, revoking credentials from some traders and brokers, filing a criminal complaint against a trader in August and administrative charges against certain Customs officials, including Guban. He also said that he coordinated with the PDEA.

He also defended his initial belief that there were no drugs in the magnetic lifters found in Cavite. He had relied on the negative result of the swab test, while the PDEA relied on the actions of drug-cantering dogs.

COMPLAINTS RECEIVED

The DOJ panel of prosecutors also rejected allegations of false testimony and bribery of perjury against other respondents as well as obstruction of justice and grievous claims of serious misconduct against some COB officials.

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