Rep. Barbers: Lapeña not accountable in P11B shabu smuggling case
The chair of the House committee on dangerous drugs has cleared former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña of accountability in the alleged smuggling of the billions worth of illegal drugs into the country last August.
“Personally, wala akong nakikitang kinalaman ni Commissioner Lapeña dyan sa pagpapalusot ng mga ilegal na shipments o kargamento,” Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said in a press briefing on Monday. His committee is currently investigating the suspected smuggling of P11 billion worth of shabu into the country.
Even in the aspect of “command responsibility,” Barbers expressed doubts that Duterte’s trusted former military man would face any accountability.
“If that (command responsibility) would be considered, I don’t think it would apply in a criminal situation such as smuggling of illegal drugs, then sa tingin ko wala pa ring ganung kabigat na accountability si Commissioner Lapeña,” he added.
Customs Deputy Collector Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang has accused Lapeña of “covering-up” for drug syndicates over the entry of more than 1-ton of shabu into the country in August. Lapeña has repeatedly denied this.
On Aug. 8, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) discovered four empty magnetic lifters inside a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.
PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino insisted that the magnetic lifters contained illegal drugs, a conclusion that Mangaoang had backed but Lapeña dismissed at first.
In an earlier House inquiry into the issue, however, Lapeña finally gave in and said he believes that the magnetic lifters contained shabu.
Following the controversy, President Rodrigo Duterte has transferred Lapeña from the corruption-riddled agency to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
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