Liberal Senators dismayed by DOJ clearing BOC in P6.4-billion shabu smuggling

Partido Liberal senators expressed dismay over the Department of Justice's decision to clear several former Bureau of Customs officials over the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu last May.

"Kapag kakampi pinalulusot at iyong mga maliliit at mahihina lang ang hinahabol (Allies are allowed to go scot-free, going after only the poor and powerless)," said Partido Liberal president Sen. Francis Pangilinan in reaction to the DOJ resolution clearing former Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Estrella.

"Ano bang alam ni Faeldon na hindi natin alam? Sadya ba talaga silang pinalusot upang hindi natin malaman kung sino talaga ang nasa likod ng napakalaking shipment ng shabu na ito (What does Faeldon know that we don't? Were they deliberately allowed off the hook so that we won't know who are behind this enormous shipment of shabu?)" added Pangilinan.

Also cleared were Customs intelligence officerS Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente, lawyers Jeleena Magsuci and Philip Maronilla, and personnel Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo, and John Edillor.

The DOJ found probable cause to charge several others for importation of dangerous drugs, including Richard Tan, owner of the Valenzuela warehouse where the shabu shipment was found, businessman Kenneth Dong, Manny Li, customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II, EMT Trading owner Eirene Mae Tatad, broker Teejay Marcellana, Chen Min, Jhu Ming Jhun and Chen Rong Huan, and other unidentified individuals known only as John Doe, Jane Doe, and George Doe.

"Nakakalungkot ang desisyong ito dahil puro pribadong indibidwal lang ang kinasuhan habang ligtas naman sa asunto ang mga nagkuntsabahan para makalusot ang droga sa bansa (This decision is saddening because only private individuals were charged while those who connived are saved to keep open the drug flow into the country)," said Sen. Bam Aquino.

"Ito ang mapait na katotohanan sa giyera kontra droga. Ang mga maliliit na tao, pinapatay habang malaya ang mga taong malalapit sa pamahalaan (This is the bitter truth on the war on drugs: The powerless are killed while those close to the powers-that-be go scot-free)," said Sen. Bam Aquino.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, for his part, said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) must appeal the case so that government officials behind the shipment must be punished and jailed.

"Hindi dapat tantanan ng PDEA ang kasong ito dahil ito'y isang malinaw na pagyurak sa sistema ng katarungan sa bansa (The PDEA should be relentless in pursuing this case because this is clearly destroying the justice system in the country)," said Drilon.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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