House panel chair says more shipments with suspected shabu missing

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2017 08:47 PM

MANILA - House of Representatives' Ways and Means Committee Chair Dakila Carlo Cua has asked the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to look for 18 more crates allegedly smuggled through Manila that may contain as much as 2 tons of shabu worth P22.5 billion.

Cua said a total of 23 crates were reported to have been smuggled through the BOC's green lane, where shipments no longer need to go through inspection and document verification, but only 5 containers were seized in a raid at a warehouse in Valenzuela City.

"Asan ang 18 that can potentially [be] tantamount to more than 2 tons of shabu? That may be in the market. Worth P22.5 billion. 'Yan ang gusto ko pagtuunan ng pansin," he said.

"Kagabi, inatasan ko ang bureau (BOC) officials, pinatulong ang nbi at PDEA. Hanapin niyo 'yung other 18 packs or crates...kasi 'yun pong shabu nakita sa cylindrical mold na bakal, nakalagay sa mga crate na na-raid nila sa Valenzuela. Pero sa dokumento ng Customs, nakalagay sa container van 23 ang crate ng mold," he added.

Cua said he made the appeal to the agencies shortly before the close of the House hearing on Wednesday, where lawmakers tackled the BOC drug smuggling issue. 

In the same hearing, broker Mark Taguba confirmed that he paid a P27,000 bribe to the BOC for each container. 

"Ang very alarming issue na may corruption sa BOC without naming yet who, may tumatanggap ng P27,000 per container... Nire-report ni Sen. Lacson, na-confirm natin kagabi," he said.

Cua said Taguba's driver and employee will be summoned to the next hearing, along with Richard Chen, owner of the warehouse where the shabu was seized.