Duterte ‘still trusts’ Lapeña; DOJ starts own probe
Malacañang on Monday said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña still enjoyed the trust and confidence of President Duterte despite the smuggling of P6.8-billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last Friday.
“He [President] knows what happened. He trusts Lapeña. He also trusts the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). He expects PDEA and the BOC to work together on this,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to do its own probe of the incident.
Opposition lawmakers on Monday questioned the President’s supposed silence on the latest case of drug smuggling.
In filing House Resolution No. 2068, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo urged his colleagues to conduct an inquiry into the repeated failure of the authorities to stop the narcotics shipments.
At the Senate, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV asked where Mr. Duterte’s famous vitriol was over the shabu smuggling.
Lapeña said in a speech to BOC officials and employees on Monday that he would not allow their efforts to curb smuggling to be “destroyed” by “mere assumptions” that they allowed the shabu shipment to slip through the Port of Manila.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino earlier bristled at suggestions that the shabu smuggling could have been intercepted had there been more “timely” intelligence from them.
“We can’t share information that is considered hearsay,” Aquino said. —Reports from Julie M. Aurelio, Marlon Ramos and Leila B. Salaverria
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