Lapeña, several others ordered to answer raps over ‘shabu’ mess
MANILA, Philippines — Former Customs Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Isidro Lapeña and several others have been ordered to answer a criminal complaint filed against them before the Department of Justice for the billions worth of shabu (chrystal meth) smuggled into the country in 2018 using magnetic lifters.
During Wednesday’s preliminary investigation, Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat, who chairs the panel of prosecutors handling the case, ordered all the respondents to submit their response in the form of counter-affidavits.
The complaints were filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who conducted separate investigation on the matter.
NBI’s complaint was filed last Jan. 24 while PDEA filed the complaint on Aug. 29, 2018 and Dec. 13, 2018. The complaints have been consolidated upon NBI’s motion.
Sytat, however, said that “these will be treated as separate cases.”
“It’s just consolidated so that the appreciation of the facts will be one and the same. It is just for the appreciation of facts so as not to have differing or conflicting resolution,” she said.
In the NBI complaint, Lapena, Vener Baquiran, Zsae Carrie de Guzman, John Mar Morales, and Benjamin Cajucom are accused of having committed dereliction of duty in violation of the Revised Penal Code; violation of Section 3(e) of the Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act); and grave misconduct in violation of the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and Employees.
The NBI complaint also sought the prosecution of over 40 persons, including the three “core conspirators,” namely, Guban, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo, and dismissed Police Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto who was the former deputy Anti-Illegal Drug Special Task Force of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the importation of illegal drugs in violation of Section 26 of RA 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002); violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019; and for grave misconduct.
The PDEA’s December 13, 2018 complaint accused 44 respondents, including Guban, Fajardo and Acierto of importation of dangerous drugs, of attempt of conspiracy and liability of a person violating any regulation issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
They are also accused of violating Section 3(e) of RA 3019 and for obstruction of justice in violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829, Section 1(c) and the Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
Meanwhile, PDEA’s August 29, 2018 complaint accused Chan Yee Wah Albert, Zhang Quan, Vedasto Baraquel Jr., and Maria Lagrimas Catipan of possession of illegal drugs in violation of RA 9165. /ee
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