MANILA - Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Isidro Lapeña on Friday filed a "libel and slander" complaint against Customs collector Maria Lourdes Mangaoang who tagged him in the shipment of a P6.8-billion shabu haul from China.
Mangaoang earlier said knew about the intel reports on smuggled illegal drugs before authorities intercepted 500 kilos of shabu concealed in two magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last August 7. She alleged that Lapeña was working with smugglers when he was still commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
"These statements of Mangaoang are fabricated, baseless, and simply untrue," Lapeña told reporters after he filed the case before the Taguig Prosecutor's Office.
"Her malicious statements are certainly defamatory, discrediting my honesty, integrity, and reputation as a person and as a public servant," he said.
The charges were filed for my family "who is hurting the most," Lapeña said.
"Sumobra siya (She went too far) ," he said.
It will be up to the court to decide how much moral damages should be charged against Mangaoang, he said.
Lapeña earlier said that he was being framed by syndicates in the Customs bureau, but did not say if Mangaoang was part of the drug group operating within the BOC.
He also told lawmakers in a House hearing that the magnetic lifters from Taiwan may have been used to smuggle drugs, contrary to his earlier insistence that it did not contain narcotics.
President Duterte later ordered Lapeña's transfer to TESDA amid the shabu controversy.
Mangaoang in a text message to ABS-CBN News said she is ready to face the charges in court.
"All I can say is that everything I said is the truth. I’m prepared to face him in court," she said.
"The charges filed are meant to silence me but I am unfazed by these charges."