MANILA—A top official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has been sacked in connection with the recent alleged smuggling of shabu in Manila and Cavite, the agency's chief said Thursday.
The PDEA found P2.4 billion worth of shabu inside magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) on August 7.
A day later, four more magnetic lifters were found in General Mariano Alvarez town in Cavite but they were empty. The PDEA said agents were on the hunt for at least 5 more containers with a ton of shabu worth at least P6.8 billion.
Deputy director general for administration 3 Ismael Fajardo was relieved on September 14, PDEA director general Aaron Aquino said.
Aquino said an investigation showed that Fajardo, customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban and dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto had knowledge of the shipments in question.
"I also wrote a letter to the NBI on September 18 asking the bureau to conduct an investigation. I have tapped the NBI to make the investigation because it’s credible and nonpartisan," Aquino said in the joint investigation of the House committees on dangerous drugs, and good government and public accountability updated on the case.
Aquino stood by his earlier claim that the magnetic lifters seized in a warehouse in GMA, Cavite, contained drugs, though these yielded nothing.
“Based on the statements and admission of Jimmy Guban who is from Bureau of Customs, supported PDEA’s early statement that they are still crooked employees in Bureau of Customs, PNP and perhaps the PDEA," he said.
Aquino said international efforts are underway to apprehend the origin of the alleged illegal drugs.
"PDEA maintains that the seized illegal drugs came from the Golden Triangle Syndicate, and continuous cooperation and backtracking are being done with our international counterparts particularly the US (Drug Enforcement Agency), Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China," he said.
Aquino also told lawmakers that charges have been filed in connection with the seizure of drugs at the MICP in August, which he linked to the Cavite case.
The PDEA has also arrested one person of interest linked to the GMA case, he added.
”On August 30, PDEA [was] able to arrest in a buy-bust operation one of the persons of interest. His name is James Hung. He is a Hong Kongese. He was arrested in the vicinity of Rizal Coliseum seized from him was more or less 1 kilo of shabu worth P6.8 million."
Hung is supposedly a cohort of one of the persons of interest in the Cavite case.
Aquino, for his part, castigated Customs for failing to apprehend the smugglers of drugs.
“Bakit wala kayo nahuli kahit isa? Bakit wala kayo nakompiska kahit 1 gramo ng droga? Bakit nakalusot sa GMA, Cavite, kung totoong trinabaho niyo ito?” he said
“Kung totoong tapat kayo sa trabaho niyo dapat may nahuli kayong droga sa GMA nahuli niyo rin yung 7 unidentified Chinese persons of interest kayo lang maka-decide."