A Manila City Regional Trial Court has ordered the arrest of former police official Eduardo Acierto and seven others who have been indicted over the smuggling of billions worth of shabu shipments last year.
The Manila City RTC, Branch 35 issued the arrest warrant against Acierto and other co-accused in the case for the importation of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 filed by the Department of Justice.
The lower court also ordered the arrest of seven other accused former Customs Intelligence Officer Jimmy Guban and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo; importers Chan Yee Wah alias KC Chan and Zhou Quan alias Zhang Quan; consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading; and Emily Luquingan.
The Department of Justice has tapped the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation to hunt down the accused after receiving the copy of the warrant last week.
Only Guban, who has testified in the earlier congressional investigations on the matter, is currently in custody of authorities.
He was taken into custody by the NBI last Holy Wednesday, April 17.
In an order dated April 12, 2019, Judge Ma. Bernardita Santos did not set bail for the arrest of the accused as drug importation charges are non-bailable under the law.
Acierto recently surfaced in a press conference with select media outfits and linked President Duterte’s former adviser Michael Yan in the illegal drug trade in the country.
The DOJ indicted Acierto and other accused in court after finding probable cause in the charges against them filed by the NBI.
In the resolution last April 8, the investigating panel of prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat cleared 32 others in the drug smuggling charges for lack for evidence.
The DOJ also endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the complaint for violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019 (dereliction of duty and grave misconduct) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Isidro Lapena, Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, dismissed Port of Manila District Collector Vener Baquiran, BOC X-ray Inspection Project head Zsae Carrie De Guzman, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) officer Gorgonio Necessario, Customs Operating Office IV Dolores Domingo, BOC shift supervision Benjamin Cajucom, BOC X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez, customs employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales.
They also recommended to the Ombudsman the conduct of a preliminary investigation against Lapena, Baquiran, de Guzman, Morales and Cajucom for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code for failure to impose sanctions or penalize BOC officers involved in the controversy.
The case arose from the successive seizure in August last year of two abandoned magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila which contained 355 kilos of shabu worth P2.4 billion and of four magnetic lifters at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite believed to have been used to smuggle 1.6 tons of shabu worth P11 billion.