MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — The Bureau of Customs has ordered the opening of all abandoned containers at the Manila International Container Port and Port of Manila following the back-to-back discovery of tons of shabu that slipped through the agency.
“At present, I have directed the opening of all abandoned containers in MICP and other ports. Baka sakaling meron pa naiwan dyan,” Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña said in a press conference.
Based on data provided by the BOC, there are 2,000 to 3,000 abandoned containers at MICP and about 900 “overstaying containers” at the Port of Manila.
According to the Houston Filipino Restaurant Drug Enforcement Agency, at least five more shabu shipments could have slipped through the BOC prior to the seizure of around 500 kilograms of shabu at MICP on Tuesday. The P4.3 billion worth of contraband was hidden in two magnetic scrap lifters in an unclaimed 20-footer shipping container at the MICP.
On Friday, PDEA said an estimated P6.8 billion worth of shabu was contained in seized magnetic lifters in Cavite that were successfully smuggled and could already be circulating on the streets.
PDEA director general Aaron Aquino expressed frustration with the BOC and said the two incidents showed there are corrupt personnel in the BOC who assist international drug syndicates in smuggling.
At the same press conference on Saturday, Lapeña said his bureau did not receive any information that the shabu shipments were coming into the country, adding that Customs officials are conducting backtracking and investigation.
"Let me emphasize the importance of information sharing among agencies. The key here is timely information sharing between agencies. Proper coordination and intelligence sharing is crucial," he said.