P6.4-b shabu cargo probed
THE Office of the Ombudsman has created a panel to conduct a fact-finding investigation into alleged anomalies in the release of P6.4 billion worth of shabu through the green lane of the Bureau of Customs.
“The order of the Ombudsman is in line with the President’s recent pronouncement for independent agencies to investigate the matter,” its official statement read.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales issued Office Order No. 765 to create a panel that would submit its findings and recommendations within 90 days of their receipt of reports of the congressional hearings on the illegal drug shipment.
The drugs were later discovered and seized in a warehouse in Valenzuela City.
The P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China arrived at the Manila International Container Port in Tondo, Manila.
The importer, EMT Trading, owned by a certain Eirene Tatad, paid the taxes and duties amounting to P40,038 or $785.
The Bureau of Customs, through its online releasing system, approved the release of the container to the green lane.
Any shipment at the green lane does not pass through the X-ray machine. Based on BoC regulations, a first-time importer and shipments from China are prohibited from going through the green lane.
“The release was allegedly facilitated by public officials who were identified by Customs broker Mark Ruben Taguba II,” the Ombudsman statement read.
The Palace said Tuesday the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency is ready to file charges against those involved in the shabu smuggling incident, including Customs officials.
“PDEA has concluded its investigation. They’re convinced of probable cause. They will file the necessary and corresponding criminal charges before the Department of Justice,” presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said.
Roque made these pronouncements after the Office of the Ombudsman announced that it has formed a fact-finding panel to investigate the smuggling.
With John Paolo Bencito