No proof linking Lapeña to shabu smuggling: PDEA
MANILA – There is no evidence that former Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña was involved in the PHP6.8-billion shabu shipment that slipped into the country through the industrial magnetic lifters, the head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Thursday.
“We haven’t seen any evidence that will link former commissioner Lapeña sa mga kaso (to the cases). And that is why he was not included in the filing of the case. Inupuan ng legal team ko (My legal team scrutinized it) and they reviewed everything and they gave their results to me. And it was found out that he is not directly linked in these particular cases,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino told reporters at the Department of Justice (DOJ) after the filing of criminal cases against 44 individuals involved in the transaction.
“PDEA assures the public that all resources will be tapped by this agency to ensure the successful prosecution of all these cases,” Aquino said.
He, however, said they will submit their findings to the watchdog agencies in the executive department to investigate Lapeña’s possible administrative liability.
“(A)fter this, we will provide copies to the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (and) maybe the Ombudsman. I think they have more authority to file an administrative case if there is any,” he added.
Aquino confirmed that those who remain at large include former PDEA deputy director for administration Ismael Fajardo and former Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto.
The PDEA chief added that customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban will be held liable for his part in the transactions.
“We consider him as a principal respondent, we actually consider him
as a principal person of interest,” he said.
Aquino said the respondents should be prosecuted for violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 , particularly Section 4 (Importation of Dangerous Drugs) ; Section 5 in relation to Section 26 (Attempt or Conspiracy); and Section 32 (Liability to a Person Violating any Regulation Issued by
the Board) in relation to Section 30 (Criminal Liability of Officers).
The respondents were also charged with violation of Presidential Decree 1827 (Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders); Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code, which penalizes any public officer who fails to initiate the prosecution of criminal offenders, as well as those tolerating the commission of offenses; and the provisions of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Aside from Acierto, Fajardo, Guban, also named respondents in the complaint were Police Insp. Lito Pirote, and Joseph Dimayuga, as principals.
Also included as respondents were private individuals namely Chan Yee Wah, Emily Daprosa Luquingan, Vedastro Cabral Baraquel Jr., Maria Lagrimas Abelgas Catipan, Alex B. Padlan, Zhauq Quan/Zhang Quan, Gorgonio V. Necessario, Myra C. Tan, Terence L. Uytingban, Avelino S. Tendera and entities SN Logistics and Ben Line Agencies Philippines for the magnetic lifters found in MICP.
PDEA also filed cases against entities and personalities being linked to the magnetic lifters found in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite. Among them are Nonito Estorninos Jr.,Li Jie of He Zhong Consultancy Co., Inc.; Ramon Tuyay, John Leric Olavario, Maribeth Olavario, Minerva Verso, and Chung-Chun Hsu of Red Day Machinery Parts Corp.; Le Thi Thuy, Luu Thi Thu Huong, Kan Yi Hong of Yida Equipment Crane Limited Company; Du Quoc Duong of Dong Trieu Trading and Import/Export Service Trading Company Limited; Chen Wei Cheng, Ping Cheung Fung, Roy Wang, Roy and two others from All Systems Logistics, Inc. who have yet to be identified; Marina de la Cruz Signapan, Alexander Dames, Katrina Cuasay and Miguella Santos of SMYD Trading; and customs officials and
officers — lawyer Zsae Carrie de Guzman, head, X-Ray Inspection Project; Benjamin Cajucom, shift supervisor, X-Ray Inspection Project; Manuel Martinez, operator, X-Ray Inspection Project; Dolores Domingo,
appraiser; and seven others identified only through their aliases.