PDEA chief goes on leave amid P6.8-billion shabu fiasco

Following the claim that P6.8 billion worth of shabu had slipped past authorities and made its way into the streets, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director general Aaron Aquino has taken a “long-planned leave to be with his family.”

Meanwhile, members of the minority block in the Senate on Thursday sought a Senate probe into the shabu shipment that entered the country through the Manila International Container Port and slipped past the Bureau of Customs.

Under Senate Resolution 849, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima said the repeated incidence of huge shipments of drugs being smuggled into the country and slipping past inspection at Customs was a wake-up call for officials to look into the possible misdeeds of the officials and employees of the bureau.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said drug syndicates were devising new ways to slip past the drug net laid out by the government to prevent the entry of illegal drugs.

Barbers, chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, made the assessment after hearing the testimonies of Customs and PDEA officials at the initial hearing on P6.8 billion worth of shabu.

But Derrick Carreon, PDEA spokesman, pleaded with the media “not to put malice” as to why Aquino was on a leave.

“Ma’am, this is personal. I am just wondering why people have been putting malice to something that has long been planned ago. It has absolutely nothing to do with the series of events,” Carreon told the Manila Standard when asked about Aquino’s leave.

“I would like to implore all concerned. This is the 10th call that I got with regard to that. That has nothing to do with whatever happened. The President [Rodrigo Duterte] did not put him on leave. It was planned a long time ago for his family.”

Carreon said Aquino also deserved to take a vacation like any other official.

“For your information, I live five minutes away from PDEA. My boss lives [here] in PDEA. I don’t think it is not proper for him to give time for his family. That [leave] has nothing to do with the recent event. I beg [you] to allow my boss to have some privacy,” he said.

A PDEA source said Aquino was on leave from Aug. 15 to Aug. 31.

“Let’s just wait for the result of the investigation. PDEA will submit everything [to] the committee on dangerous drugs in Congress,” Carreon told the GMA News Online interview.

He said the agency had “leads or suspicions.”

“Yes, he [Aquino] said that,” Carreon said.

He said “if you have connections with Malacanañg, [you can check that out]... It [leave] was planned a long time ago. It was filed a long time ago.” 

PDEA raided a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez in Cavite and found four empty magnetic lifters believed to contain shabu worth P6.8 billion.

Aquino said the drugs slipped through the country at the Manila International Container Port and made their way into the streets. With Macon Ramos-Araneta, Maricel V. Cruz, and Nat Mariano

Topics: shabu , Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency , Aaron Aquino , Manila International Container Port , Bureau of Customs
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