MANILA - Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Saturday slammed insinuations that the drugs that slipped past authorities in Cavite in August are being sold on the streets.
This after the Phillippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Friday said the illegal drugs seized from the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last August matched samples from recent drug busts.
"It is also interesting to note that there have been repeated attempts, which sadly happened while I am out of the country to address the issue personally, to insinuate that those illegal drugs confiscated in some operations in Metro Manila and Maguindanao are from the four magnetic lifters which were found in Cavite," Lapeña said in a statement.
Lapeña pointed out that the PDEA's laboratory analysis matched drugs seized in operations to those confiscated at the MICP.
He added that the analysis "did not categorically answer" the question on whether or not the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite indeed contained shabu.
“The test conducted by PDEA then does not substantiate the PDEA’s claim that their recent shabu seizures are from those empty lifters found in Cavite since their basis is the MICP shabu substance which came from a different source," he said.
"In fact, the basis of the comparison is from the more than 300 kilos of shabu which the BOC confiscated at the MICP."
However, former Customs X-ray Inspection Project (XIP) chief Lourdes Mangaoang has claimed that her office's x-ray machines detected illegal drugs inside magnetic lifters recovered in Cavite.
Last August 7, the anti-drug agency and the Bureau of Customs seized an estimated 500 kilos of "shabu" concealed in two magnetic lifters at the MICP.
Three days later, PDEA discovered P6.8 billion of shabu in GMA, Cavite where they were greeted with four empty magnetic lifters.
Lapeña and PDEA chief Aaron Aquino have been releasing public statements regarding the shabu shipments for the past week.
Lapeña on Thursday said there is obvious failure of intelligence or lack of coordination among member agencies under Aquino’s leadership.
Aquino, however, dismissed this, saying a failure of intelligence could not be possible.
Lapeña, who is currently out of the country, said "public officials should not engage [in] public bickering."
“As public officials we have to be more prudent in giving information to the general public, especially concerning a matter this serious," he said.
"In fact, public officials like us should not engage [in] public bickering, much more hurling unfounded allegations, since we are all supposed to be coordinating and working as one in order to achieve President Duterte’s dream, the Filipino people’s dream, of a drug-free Philippines."
He added that he will confront these issues and make some announcements when he returns to Manila.