DOJ files charges vs Fajardo, Acierto, 6 others
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed charges against former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy chief Ismael Fajardo Jr., dismissed Police Col. Eduardo Acierto, Bureau of Customs (BOC) intelligence officer Jimmy Guban and five other people for illegally importing 355 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth) hidden in a shipment of magnetic lifters last year.
In a decision issued on April 8, a four-member DOJ panel of prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat said Fajardo, Acierto and Guban were the “core conspirators” in the drug smuggling.
Also charged were Chan Yee Wah, Zhou Quan or Zhang Quan, consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and his wife Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading, and Emily Luquingan, former wife of Hsu Chun Chung, a Chinese who allegedly acted as liaison for the shabu shipment.
Out of the nearly 50 people, including incumbent and former PDEA agents and customs officials who were implicated in the smuggling by the National Bureau of Investigation, only eight were charged by state prosecutors.
But the DOJ said it would endorse to the Ombudsman the investigation of Fajardo, Acierto, Guban and eight BOC officials led by former Commissioner Isidro Lapeña for dereliction of duty and grave misconduct.
The others who will be investigated by the Ombudsman are dismissed Manila district collector Vener Baquiran, X-ray inspection project head Zsae Carrie de Guzman, intelligence and investigation officer Gorgonio Necessario, operating officer Dolores Domingo, shift supervisor Benjamin Cajucom, X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez and employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales.
The DOJ also recommended the investigation of Lapeña, Baquiran, De Guzman, Morales and Cajucom for failing to punish customs officials who allowed the drug shipment to pass through the Manila International Container Port (MICP) in July last year.
Authorities found 355 kilos of shabu hidden in one of two shipments of magnetic lifters at MICP.
The other shipment containing four magnetic lifters was found in August last year in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite province.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino had said the magnetic lifters, which were found empty, may have contained as much as a ton of shabu.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.