By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
A Mindanao-based solon on Tuesday (August 14) urged the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to recant its previous pronouncement over the supposed Php 6.8-billion worth of shabu that allegedly slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last.
Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing Jr. said PDEA should admit its mistake following its earlier declaration that close to 1,000 kilograms of smuggled shabu are already out in the market following the discovery of four empty magnetic lifters in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite last week.
The said magnetic lifters believed to have contained 1000 kg of shabu based on the previous pronouncement made PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino last August 10.
“I think it’s only fair for the Bureau of Customs (BOC) that PDEA should issue recantation of the previous news article, na sasabihin lang diyan, mali pala… wala naman palang droga na nakita sa GMA. Siguro sa isang press release sabihin niyo ‘yan na negative,” said Suansing.
On Tuesday, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña opposed Aquino’s assertion during an inquiry conducted by the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs that a muti-billion peso shabu shipment may have slipped past the law enforcement authorities.
Lapeña disclosed that the four magnetic lifters were tested negative from traces of methamphetamine hydrochloride or more popularly known as “shabu” based on the laboratory examination made by the drug enforcement bureau.
But PDEA Deputy Director for Operations Ruel Lasala defended Aquino over his earlier assessment that the empty magnetic lifters previously contained the suspected drug shipment worth Php 6.8 billion since the law enforcement body found two similar magnetic lifters containing 500 kg of shabu in an unclaimed container at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) last August 7.
“Ang sinasabi namin… na sa lahat ng circumstantial, na situation, evidence na nakalap namin, ang laman noong metallic lifter na ‘yon ay droga. Siguro talagang namomroblema tayo rito dahil ‘di katulad ng ibang mga seizure na nariyan na talaga ‘yong droga, ‘yong body of the crime. But we are saying na ‘yong context noon ay droga,” said Lasala.