PDEA agents ‘ready to clear names’ in NBI’s shabu smuggling complaint
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Wednesday said its agents are prepared to clear their names after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) recommended filing graft complaints against them over the P1 billion worth of shabu shipment found inside a warehouse in Malabon.
“PDEA reserves its right to pursue available remedies relative to the recommendation of the NBI to file graft and corruption charges against its former and incumbent officials, and anti-narcotics agents in connection with the smuggled ₱1 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, concealed in an abandoned tapioca starch shipment in 2019,” read the statement.
“Although the PDEA has yet to receive a copy of the NBI Report, the agency is ready to answer every allegation. PDEA officials and agents who were implicated in the investigation are ready to clear their names in the proper forum,” the anti-narcotics agency added.
Meanwhile, PDEA denied that its incumbent chief Wilkins Villanueva was involved in the smuggled shipment because he was serving as director of the PDEA Regional Office in Northern Mindanao when the controversy erupted.
“The incident happened during the previous PDEA administration. Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva, who took over the helm of the agency’s leadership on May 22, 2020, had nothing to do with the controlled delivery operation in contention since he was still the Regional Director of the PDEA Regional Office X Northern Mindanao at that time,” read the statement.
On Tuesday, the NBI asked the Department of Justice to hold several PDEA and Customs officials accountable for graft and corruption due to the controversial shipment, which was abandoned in March 2019.
It was only two months later when authorities found that there were shabu inside the 114 bags concealed in several aluminum pallets.
Aside from Villanueva, former PDEA chief Aaron Aquino, Customs chief Rey Guerrero and several other anti-narcotics agents were implicated in the NBI recommendation.