OPINION: Don’t forget the 604 kilos of shabu

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Oct 19 2017 03:56 PM

With so many issues cropping up every day, a controversy is usually good only for a week. Unresolved, it is set aside to make way for another controversy. Nobody gets punished, the culprit gets away with the crime. The problem stays and goes on.

The Gordon-led Blue Ribbon Committee, in its report more than a week ago on the 604 kilos of shabu that passed through the Bureau of Customs under the leadership of Nicanor Faeldon, has found Davao City Councilor Small Abellera Jr. liable of direct bribery for allegedly accepting a P5-million bribe from customs fixer Mark Taguba as enrollment fee with the Davao Group, which reportedly facilitates the release of shipments at the BOC.

Yet, it cleared presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and his brother-in-law, lawyer Manases Carpio, of complicity with the Davao Group.

Something's wrong here.

In Taguba's testimony, which was vouched by a high-ranking Customs official who asked not to be named, to be true, he said that when he went to Davao in January with a certain “Jack”, it was supposed to deliver the P5 million “enrollment fee” to the Davao group in order that his shipments won’t be flagged down and would breeze through Customs.

The Davao January meeting was explained by a text message from a certain “Tita Nanie”, who seemed like a veteran operator in the Customs just like “Jack.” 

The text message was: “Good am, Mark, we’ll make final arrangement with Jack. He is the handler of Paolo. Now, we have to advance the enroll—he can fly down to Davao to arrange your meeting with Polong ASAP. During the meeting, you personally turn over the five million, same manner you likewise you turn over the 1MLN to Jack when we meet.”

There was no “Polong”, nickname of the vice mayor, when Taguba and Jack arrived in Davao. The one who met them was Abellera, known to be a close friend of the vice mayor.

Taguba said he gave the P5 million in cash to Abellera at the restaurant parking lot.

Abellera admitted to the Gordon committee that he met with “Jack” and Taguba but he denied receiving the P5 million. When asked why he met with “Jack” and Taguba, he said that “Jack” called him. 
Just like that. Gordon did not follow up.

Now, if Gordon’s committee did not believe Abellera’s denial (that’s why they found him liable of direct bribery) why did they stop there? Where’s the P5 million? Are they sure Abellera did not turn it over to the Vice Mayor?

News reports said Abellera has been stripped of his committee chairmanship in the Davao City council because he has not been attending sessions since his Senate appearance. The Vice Mayor has been reported to have said that it had nothing to do with the 604 kilos of shabu controversy.

Do we believe that?

Gordon also did not follow up the March 17 text message of Taguba to “Tita Nanie” where the name of Mans Carpio was mentioned: ”Tita there’s no need to panic. I haven’t filed it yet. All I need from Tito Jack is for either P or Mance to call collector Jet Maronilla that we have go signal for our SPL.”

“Tito Jojo” referred to a certain Jojo Bacud, who is said to be working with the BOC’s Special Studies and Project Development Committee.

Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Panfilo Lacson did not sign Gordon’s committee report. In a statement, Trillanes said, “Suspected drug pushers and users are wantonly killed in the streets while the people behind the illegal drug smuggling are merely subjected to a lifestyle check. This is a clear case of a cover up by Senator Gordon to please his political master.

“If Sen. Gordon is really serious in getting to the bottom of this mess, then he shouldn't terminate the hearing and clear Paolo Duterte of involvement until Nanie Cabato-Coronacion a.k.a. Tita Nanie is located.”

Every drug-related killing should be a reminder to the public of the 604 kilos of shabu that passed through Customs without inspection because someone influential sponsored it.


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