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Eduardo Acierto, 2 others charged over shabu shipments

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
Eduardo Acierto, 2 others charged over shabu shipments
Eduardo Acierto

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted former police officer Eduardo Acierto and two other former officials tagged as “core conspirators” in the smuggling of billions of pesos worth of shabu last year.

The DOJ filed a case in court for importation of dangerous drugs, in violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, against Acierto, former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy director for administration Ismael Fajardo.

Acierto recently surfaced and linked President Duterte’s former adviser Michael Yang to illegal drugs.

In a 45-page joint resolution issued on April 8, the investigating panel of prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat found probable cause in the earlier complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Aside from the three, also facing the same charges are Chan Yee Wah, Zhou Quan or Zhang Quan, consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and his wife Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading, and Emily Luquingan, the ex-wife of Hsu Chun Chung.

Hsu, a Hong Kong national, was the reported liaison behind the 500-kilo shabu shipment that authorities found in August at the Manila International Container Port hidden in two magnetic lifters.

Of the more than 40 individuals named in the complaints, the DOJ indicted only eight.

“The basic rule is that allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. When the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his allegations, the complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit,” the resolution stated.

Meanwhile, the panel endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the complaint for violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019 (dereliction of duty and grave misconduct) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority director general  Isidro Lapena, Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, dismissed Port of Manila district sollector Vener Baquiran, BOC X-ray Inspection Project head Zsae Carrie De Guzman, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer Gorgonio Necessario, Customs operating officer IV Dolores Domingo, BOC shift supervision Benjamin Cajucom, BOC X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez, and Customs employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales.

The panel also recommended to the Ombudsman the conduct of a preliminary investigation against Lapena, Baquiran, De Guzman, Morales and Cajucom for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code for failure to impose sanctions or penalize BOC officers involved in the controversy.

The case stemmed from the successive discovery of abandoned  magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila in August which contained 355 kilos and at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite  also believed to have been used to smuggle 1.6 tons of shabu worth billions.  

EDUARDO ACIERTO

PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

SHABU SHIPMENTS

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