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Guevarra hands off on smuggling charges vs Lapeña

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Government lawyers are evaluating the complaint filed against former Customs Commissioner and current Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Isidro Lapeña.

“It is undergoing review,” Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said Monday when asked on the complaint filed by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Lapeña last November 12.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would let state prosecutors determine whether the case should undergo preliminary investigation at the DOJ or with the Ombudsman.

“Our state prosecutors will resolve this issue shortly,” the Secretary said of the complaint which arose from the irregularities in the release of over 105 container vans containing ceramic tiles worth around P69 million from the Port of Manila (POM) last March.

The NBI has accused Lapeña of violating Section 3, Paragraph (e) of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and urged that he “be administratively charged with Gross Neglect of Duty and Grave Misconduct.”

The shipments were tagged with manual alert orders (MAO) but were which were released by Asia Terminals Inc. (ATI) based on forged release orders.

The NBI pointed out Lapeña issued MAO even though the electronic to mobile (e2m) system “was accessible and fully operational.” (PNA)

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