MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday clarified that former Bureau of Customs intelligence officer Jaime Guban will not be arrested unless there is an arrest warrant issued against him.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte order to have Guban arrested was only based on the “assumption [that] there was a pending warrant for his arrest.”
“If there is none, the directive of the President is just to bring him to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) so he will be investigated,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had said Guban will stay in Senate custody until it completes its inquiry into the P11-billion shabu shipment allegedly hidden inside magnetic lifters that were found empty in Cavite in August.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said Thursday Guban will stay under Senate custody unless an arrest warrant against him is issued.
Guevarra said he and Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee currently investigating the incident, have agreed to transfer Guban to NBI custody upon the end of the Senate inquiry.
Gordon said Guban is now under "voluntary confinement" at the Senate and is considered a key witness in the incident. He was earlier detained over contempt for giving conflicting testimonies.
Guban earlier admitted receiving P10,000 for hiring SMYD Trading, the consignee of the four magnetic lifters which were found empty in Cavite in August but suspected of containing billions worth of shabu.
The President earlier released a “secret special report” tagging Guban and other high-ranking police officials in the illegal drug trade.
The report said Guban developed a network and that individuals would turn to him when they wanted illegal drugs and other goods such as fireworks, rice, sugar, onions and garlic brought into the country.
The report also linked Guban to a certain Chen Yu, reportedly a member of the Bamboo Alliance Syndicate that “offers all sorts of transactions.”
“Guban’s source of wealth is dubious. In the past, he only used to ride a motorcycle, but after several operations and ‘accomplishments’, his new ride became a Land Cruiser and he eventually possessed a number of homes,” the report said.