Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday the parallel probe of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will proceed even after the President said that PDEA’s claims could be mere speculation as there was no evidence backing the drug agency’s report.
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DOJ probe on missing P6.8 billion shabu to proceed
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) is unfazed in its fact-finding investigation on the P6.8-billion shabu that allegedly slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) despite President Duterte’s questions on the report of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday the parallel probe of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will proceed even after the President said that PDEA’s claims could be mere speculation as there was no evidence backing the drug agency’s report.

“I have not revoked my directive to the NBI to do its own probe. We leave no stones unturned when it comes to cases involving illegal drugs,” he said in a text message.

PDEA agents recently seized four magnetic lifters believed to have contained the smuggled shabu at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.

Drug-sniffing dogs detected traces of narcotics in the empty magnetic lifters, but Duterte was not convinced. 

In his speech last week, Duterte branded as “pure speculation” the claim of PDEA chief Aaron Aquino that the shabu shipment may have already been distributed in the illegal drug trade market in the country.

“There was nothing there. They presumed it was filled with shabu and made assumption on the prices. You do not go into speculative content. You must be very sure that you have the goods,” the President said.

Despite this, Guevarra said the NBI would still pursue its probe to verify PDEA’s report, trace how the latest shabu shipment was able to pass through the BOC, and pinpoint who were the officials and personalities responsible for it.

Guevarra also ordered the NBI to file charges against those who would be found criminally liable for drug smuggling.

“We will wait for an update from the NBI to know if there’s need to take more action,” he added.

The DOJ chief cited the possibility of ordering the NBI to hunt down the 11 Chinese nationals led by a certain Chao Yue Wah, alias KC Chan, Albert Chan or Tony Chan and to also secure a precautionary hold departure order against them.

Aquino said he believed that some officials in BOC could be responsible for the smuggling and were in cahoots with a drug syndicate.

The PDEA chief cited the similarity in the smuggling of the P6.8-billion shabu shipment to what was used to smuggle P4.3 billion worth of shabu seized at the Port of Manila last week.

He said dogs detected traces of illegal drugs in the empty magnetic lifters, similar to the two seized at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) also last week which contained an estimated 500 kilograms of shabu.

Drug rings operating in the Golden Triangle in the shared borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are believed to be behind the multibillion-peso shabu shipments. 

According to PDEA, the shipment was sourced from Taiwan and used Malaysia as a transshipment point before entering the Philippines. It reportedly came into the Philippines at the end of June and was dispatched to the warehouse, rented at P150,000 per month for a year, by July 13.

Several men reportedly unloaded the illicit shipment on the night of July 15, taking three to four hours to load the drugs into an estimated 17 luggage trolley bags.

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY SHABU
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