President Rodrigo Duterte points at a reporter during a press conference at the 113th Founding Anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in metropolitan Manila, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017.
AP/Aaron Favila, File
Duterte's anti-corruption body to probe collusion of Customs execs in shabu smuggling
( - August 12, 2018 - 8:49pm

MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission will conduct its own probe into the entry of about P6.8 billion worth of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride in the country.

PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna said "personalities" would be summoned to shed light on the issue and to determine whether officials committed lapses or conspired with smugglers to facilitate the entry of contrabands.

"Evil triumphs when good men do nothing, as the famous line goes. The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission is set to conduct a parallel inquiry into the reported collusion of some corrupt Customs officials with notorious smugglers which led to the entry of billions worth of illegal drugs into the country as revealed by the PDEA (Houston Filipino Restaurant Drug Enforcement Agency)," Luna said in a statement.

"PACC finds the facilitated smuggling of over P4 billion and P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs very disturbing and will not take this sitting down," he added.

The PACC was created through Executive Order No. 43 to assist the president in investigating and hearing administrative cases against presidential appointees with salary grade 26 and higher.

Last week, PDEA agents found several magnetic lifters that are being used as illegal drug containers at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite. While the lifters were empty, dogs detected traces of narcotics in them. PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said about P6.8 billion worth of shabu was contained in the lifters. He said it was possible that the shabu placed in the lifters are already being sold in the streets.

PDEA is investigating the entry of the multi-billion peso drug contraband.

Aquino has blamed "corrupt" Customs personnel for the entry of the illegal drugs but did not elaborate. He said the lifters seized in Cavite were similar to the two found at the Manila International Container Terminal last Tuesday that contained an estimated 500 kilograms of shabu.

Last year, the Customs bureau drew flak over the entry of P6.4 billion worth of shabu from China. Some Customs officials have been accused of being part of a bribery scheme that paved the way to the entry of smuggled items. — Alexis Romero

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