PNP believes fugitive Acierto still in PH; coddlers to be punished
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Malacañang’s P10-million bounty would boost efforts to capture Police Col. Eduardo Acierto who was dismissed for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of illegal drugs concealed inside magnetic lifters last year.
“But with or without the reward money, we will comply with the court’s order to arrest him,” PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac told reporters in a press briefing Tuesday.
Banac also warned Acierto’s coddlers that they would face raps for hiding him.
The coddlers will face criminally liable under Section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Law (importation of illegal drugs) and stand to suffer “imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to P500,000.”
Based on records from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Banac said there was no indication that Acierto has left the country.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 35 issued an arrest warrant and a hold departure order (HDO) against Acierto and his co-accused last April 12.
Covered by the orders apart from Acierto are former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo; importers Chan Yee Wah alias KC Chan and Zhou Quan alias Zhang Quan; consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading; and Emily Luquingan.
Another accused, former Customs Intelligence Officer Jimmy Guban, was already taken into custody of the National Bureau of Investigation last April 17.
The DOJ indicted Acierto and other accused in court after finding probable cause in the charges filed against them by the NBI.
The case stemmed from the successive seizure in August last year of two abandoned magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila, which contained 355 kilos of shabu worth P2.4 billion; and of four more magnetic lifters at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite believed to have been used to smuggle 1.6 tons of shabu worth P11 billion.
Previously, Acierto linked former presidential economic adviser
Michael Yang to the illegal drug trade.
The PNP, however, said Yang was not included on any watch list or investigation of a person with links to illegal drugs.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself slammed Acierto for making unfounded allegations, stressing that Yang “is a plain businessman and has solid integrity.”
The President also called Acierto a “corrupt” policeman allegedly involved in kidnapping, including that of South Korean national Jee Ick-joo, who was killed inside Camp Crame. (PNA)