By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter
A MANILA court has ordered the arrest of former police officer Eduardo Acierto, former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy S. Guban, and six others in connection with the 2018 importation of multi-billion pesos worth of shabu kept inside magnetic lifters that slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
The arrest warrant issued on April 12 by Judge Ma. Bernardita J. Santos of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 35 also includes Deputy Director General for Administration Ismael G. Fajardo, Jr. of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Others also ordered arrested are Chan Yee Wah, Zhou Quan, Vedasto Cabral Baraquel, Jr., Maria Lagrimas Catipan, and Emily Luquingan. No bail was recommended in the arrest warrant.
They are charged with violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in connection with the importation of the said illegal drugs, following criminal complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and PDEA last year.
The case stemmed from the P2.4-billion shabu shipments kept in two magnetic lifters found at the Manila International Container Port in August 2018 and the P11-billion worth of the same illegal drugs placed in four magnetic lifters found in Cavite also that month.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) recommended the charges on April 8. Its prosecution panel, however, dismissed for lack of probable cause the criminal complaints against 40 others, including Customs officials and employees.
The panel also endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the graft complaints against Messrs. Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, former BoC commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Isidro S. Lapeña, and eight other BoC officials. The panel further recommended to the Ombudsman a dereliction-of-duty complaint against Mr. Lapeña and four others.
Mr. Acierto previously surfaced in March, claiming that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic adviser Michael Yang is involved in illegal drugs.