The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Sunday said it too would launch an investigation into the Bureau of Customs after a P6.8-billion shipment of shabu slipped past them.
The commission said it would summon officials to shed light on the incident and would not hesitate to recommend that President Rodrigo Duterte fire any officials found to be remiss in the performance of their duties, or worse, to be guilty of conspiracy with smugglers.
This comes as the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs is set to hold a congressional inquiry Tuesday into the huge shipment of shabu that slipped past Customs authorities on Friday.
The panel, led by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, has summoned officials from the BoC and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to shed light on the incident.
On Wednesday, authorities found four magnetic scrap lifters with traces of illegal drugs in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez in Cavite on Wednesday.
These containers were similar to the ones found in the Manila International Container Port, where Customs and PDEA agents found 500 kilos of shabu, estimated at P4.3 billion, hidden in two magnetic scrap lifters.
These shipments led Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena to fire Vener Baquiran, the MICP district collector, and order an investigation into SMYD Trading, the accredited importer of the shipment.
PDEA said initial information indicated the drugs came from the Golden Triangle syndicate from Taiwan, using Malaysia as a transshipment point.
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano expressed disappointment over the continued entry of illegal drugs.
“This is a big blow to Duterte’s war on drugs. Tons and tons of drugs entered the country. I am just wondering why illegal drugs have slipped past our authorities,” he said.
Despite the strict policy of the President against drugs and the killings of drug suspects, drug smugglers and traders are just getting bolder and bolder, he added.
Lapeña, reacting to suggestions that Customs officials conspired with smugglers, said the shipment of shabu had “no derogatory information” and followed normal clearance procedures.
In a text message to media on Sunday, Lapeña said the shipment discovered by PDEA agents in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite, passed through customs clearance and underwent X-ray scanning, which he said is the normal procedure for red-tagged shipments.
“[An] initial review of the transaction revealed that there was no discrepancy between the declaration of magnetic lifters and the findings in the X-ray slide,” he said.
“[Without] any derogatory information, and following normal procedure, the shipment was processed and released,” he added.