Mangaoang eyes applying for witness protection amid threats

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2018 07:59 PM

MANILA -- Customs Deputy Collector Lourdes Mangaoang said Sunday she is considering requesting witness protection from the government amid the threats she is receiving.

Speaking to ANC, Mangaoang said she has been getting threats through text messages and phone calls allegedly from people close to former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

"I've been getting text messages which threaten my life. I was also shown messages from certain people very much connected with former Commissioner Lapeña. I read the text messages which say, 'We will destroy her. We will make her life miserable,'" she said.

"Aside from that, I've also been getting calls from friends who are very concerned about me because they have also been told by people close to the former commissioner that they will do anything to stop me from being a witness," she added.

Mangaoang said she has already prepared a letter she intends to submit to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which invited her to be a witness.

The Department of Justice had earlier said it may consider placing Mangaoang under the provisional Witness Protection Program if Senator Richard Gordon recommends it.

"I am glad that no less than the Secretary of Justice, Secretary Guevarra, is considering my application if ever I submit it before the DOJ," the Customs official said.

Mangaoang, the Customs' former x-ray division chief, earlier revealed that bureau's x-ray machines have detected illegal drugs in the magnetic lifters anti-drug agents found in Cavite last August.

PDEA director Aaron Aquino, after re-weighing the lifters, said the four empty containers they found may have contained P11-billion worth of shabu.

Former Customs Commissioner Lapeña earlier repeatedly denied Mangaoang's claims but he was later on convinced that the magnetic lifters may have contained shabu.

Amid the multi-billon peso drug controversy, President Rodrigo Duterte assigned Lapeña to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA.

The President appointed Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero to replace Lapeña.