The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission will conduct a fact-finding inquiry on the alleged coverup on the smuggling of 1.6 tons of shabu which slipped out of the Bureau of Customs, even after the Senate Blue ribbon committee cleared former BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on the P11 billion drug mess.
PACC chairman Dante Jimenez said that Lapeña is still not yet off the hook because it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who changed his initial stance on the controversial drug smuggling after the four magnetic lifters which allegedly contained shabu was found positive with chemical substance.
Jimenez said that the investigation will be conducted by the commission to prove that the government is determined to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
“The commission is determined to put in jail those people behind the smuggling of shabu,” the PACC head said during the Samahang Plaridel- Kapihan sa Manila forum
Jimenez tapped PACC commissioner Rickson Chiong, former deputy director of the national Bureau of Investigation, to head the fact-finding inquiry team.
“While the PACC respects the Senate committee’s decision, the commission has a mandate to seek and find out the truth behind the shabu mess,” Jimenez said.
Shabu smuggling whistleblower and former Customs district collector Lourdes Mangaoang said Lapeña may be held liable by virtue of command responsibility and for allegedly covering up the suspected shabu haul.
Jimenez expressed concern that the government’s continuing drive against illegal drugs may be put in question after the Senate committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon cleared Lapeña of any responsibility in the drug scandal.
He said that the PACC’s role is to seek the truth after Mangaoang, an X-ray expert testified at the Senate hearing that there was a presence of substance in the magnetic lifters that were found in a warehouse in Cavite August this year.
Lapeña was removed from the BOC because of the shabu mess but was appointed as director-general of the Technical Skills and Development Authority.
“We will never be intimidated by the Senate committee’s findings. The Senate hearing was conducted in aid of legislation but the PACC’s investigation is aided by the truth,” he said.
Although the PACC has limited resources compared to the Senate, Jimenez assured the public that it would find out the truth and put people behind bars.