Lapeña appears at DOJ to answer charges related to ‘shabu’ mess
MANILA, Philippines — Former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Isidro Lapeña appeared before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday to respond to the complaint filed against him regarding the shabu (crystal meth) smuggled into the country inside magnetic lifters.
Lapeña is facing a case for 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.
“We leave it to the discretion and the wisdom of the panel on how to go about it,” Lapeña’s counsel, lawyer John Telan, told reporters.
“All the Secretary’s defenses in connection with the NBI has been listed in the counter-affidavit,” he added.
The DOJ panel of prosecutors will conduct an ocular inspection at the Bureau of Customs on March 4 and another inspection on March 7 in Cavite. A clarificatory hearing will then be conducted on March 12, after which all parties will be required to submit their position papers.
After submitting the position papers, the case will be submitted for resolution.
The DOJ panel of investigators is conducting a preliminary investigation on the complaints filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)
PDEA filed the complaint on Aug. 29, 2018 and Dec. 13, 2018 while the NBI, which conducted a separate investigation, filed the complaint last January.
In the NBI complaint, Lapena, Vener Baquiran, Zsae Carrie de Guzman, John Mar Morales, and Benjamin Cajucom were accused of 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 former Intelligence Officer Jimmy Guban, PDEA Deputy Director Ismael G. Fajardo, Senior Superintendent Eduardo P. Acierto and former Customs Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Quinto for RA 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002); violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019; and for grave misconduct.
Meanwhile, PDEA’s December 13, 2018 complaint accused 44 respondents, including Guban, Fajardo, and Acierto of importation of dangerous drugs, conspiracy attempt, 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 Presidential Decree No. 1829, Section 1(c) and the Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
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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