Lapeña flip-flops on smuggled drugs issue; Duterte orders Guban’s arrest | Inquirer News
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Lapeña flip-flops on smuggled drugs issue; Duterte orders Guban’s arrest

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:34 AM October 25, 2018

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Wednesday conceded that a stash of “shabu” (crystal meth) worth billions of pesos were indeed concealed in four magnetic lifters seized by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in a warehouse in Cavite province.

Lapeña’s admission came shortly before President Rodrigo  Duterte ordered the arrest of Jimmy Guban, the former customs intelligence officer who was implicated in the P6.8-billion drug smuggling.

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At the continuation of the House inquiry into the case, Lapeña virtually vindicated PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino and Customs Deputy Collector Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang, who have both insisted that the lifters contained shabu.

The customs chief had crossed swords with Mangaoang, whom he had accused of being part of a supposed demolition job hatched by drug syndicates to vilify him and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

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Separate testimonies

Questioned by Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, Lapeña took back his words after hearing the testimonies of Guban and several others at the committee hearing presided over by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers.

Acop, a retired police general, told Lapeña that several information disclosed during the hearing supported the claims of Aquino and Mangaoang.

“With these developments, I will tend to believe that indeed there was a content that has been peddled by this group, by this drug syndicate,” Lapeña said.

Acop welcomed Lapeña’s admission and defended him from insinuations that he could be protecting the drug syndicate behind the drug smuggling.

Incompetency

“I don’t believe that you’re covering up for the entry of illegal drugs,” Acop said. “I personally believe that you’re covering up for the incompetency or inefficiency of your people. That’s what I see.”

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The President ordered Guban’s arrest during a speech in Malacañang about the evils of corruption and extortion in government.

“That’s why I ordered Guban arrested. I said, right after the [House] session you arrest him,” Mr. Duterte said.

According to the President, it was Guban who allowed the contraband to enter and “faked the ID.”

“If you ever do that, son of a bitch, you are making a fool of me,” he said.

A Senate inquiry into the drug smuggling earlier cited Guban in contempt for lying. It found that Guban sought out SMYD Trading to be the consignee of the drug shipment to facilitate its entry, supposedly to help an operation against another shipment.

Guban later tapped Joel Maritana to sign an affidavit that would protect the SMYD Trading owner. —With a report from Leila B. Salaverria

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TAGS: Aaron Aquino, Isidro Lapeña, Jimmy Guban, magnetic lifters, shabu shipment, war on drugs
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