Lapeña said that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino should not blame him entirely for the alleged smuggling of a large quantity of shabu that was not detected by BOC inspectors and released from the Manila International Container Port last July 14.
Miguel de guzman
Isidro Lapeña on smuggled P6.8 billion shabu: 'Customs not solely to blame'
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña yesterday said that he is not solely to blame if P6.8 billion worth of shabu reportedly concealed inside four magnetic lifters slipped through BOC personnel at the Manila port and is now allegedly being sold in the local market.

Lapeña said that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino should not blame him entirely for the alleged smuggling of a large quantity of shabu that was not detected by BOC inspectors and released from the Manila International Container Port last July 14.

The commissioner was reacting to the statement of Aquino who reportedly said that under the doctrine of command responsibility, the head of the government agency should be held responsible for the actions of his subordinates.

“If there are misdeeds, of course the officers would be held accountable for the actions of their subordinates like what happened in Customs,” Aquino reportedly said in a radio interview.

But, in a statement, Lapeña countered, “Perhaps director general Aaron Aquino should not pin down and blame entirely this problem to the Bureau of Customs. Let me emphasize again the importance of timely intelligence sharing from the PDEA. I would like to remind him that the magnetic lifters where the illegal drugs were hidden and consigned to Vecaba Trading were intercepted at the Manila port because of shared information.”

The BOC earlier said they did not receive intelligence information that there were illegal drugs inside the four magnetic lifters. 

He reminded Aquino that “it was the PDEA that initiated all operations concerning Vecaba and SMYD shipments. It was also Ismael Fajardo Jr., one of his most trusted men in PDEA, who orchestrated the entire operations and intelligence buildup on this case.

“It will help if DG Aquino will try to examine himself as the head of PDEA, the agency ‘responsible for the efficient and effective law enforcement of all the provisions on any dangerous drugs’,” he added.

Vecaba Trading was the consignee for the estimated 355 kilos of shabu worth P2.4 billion that were found inside two magnetic lifters at the MICP during the joint operation of the BOC and PDEA. A few days later, they received a report that four more magnetic lifters consigned to SMYD Trading were abandoned inside a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite where they suspect a ton of shabu was hidden. 

The Customs chief also pointed out that on March 6, 2017, President Duterte signed Executive Order 15 that created the Interagency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD), with PDEA as lead agency. 

When the ICAD was created there were only 20 member-agencies, but now membership has increased to 38 government agencies. 

He said that “finger pointing and blaming other agencies does not add up in the government’s war against drugs, more so blaming one government agency alone, as if it has done nothing. DG Aquino, being the head of ICAD, should not easily point or blame a member-agency when there is obvious failure of intelligence or lack of coordination among member-agencies under his leadership.”

He added that the illegal drugs problem is also not exclusive to the Philippines since there are other countries dealing with the same problem.

On their part, the BOC under his leadership has turned over to PDEA P3.06 billion worth of illegal drugs.

Lapeña, who previously headed PDEA, said that during his stint some 70,854 operations were conducted and P18.63 billion worth of drugs and non-drugs evidence were confiscated.

He also said that he is leaving the matter to the House and Senate that are conducting separate investigations on the issue.

President Duterte yesterday warned exporters that illegal drug syndicates are smuggling narcotics hidden inside cargoes bound for the Philippines. 

Speaking to business groups in Manila, Duterte said drug rings have ceased to build laboratories in the Philippines because of his strong campaign against narcotics. – With Alexis Romero 

ISIDRO LAPEñA PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY SHABU
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