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Acierto, ex

Jan 30, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted the "core conspirators" and several others for the smuggling of billions worth of shabu inside magnetic lifters.

In a 45-page joint resolution dated April 8, 2019, the four-man panel of prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat has found probable cause to file a case for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 specifically for importation of dangerous drugs against former Customs Intelligence Officer Jimmy S. Guban, former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo, and former police officer Eduardo P. Acierto.

Guban, Fajardo, and Acierto, based on the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), are the "core conspirators" in trying to smuggling the shabu into the country.

Acierto earlier surfaced and linked President Rodrigo Duterte's former adviser Michael Yan in the illegal drugs activity.

Aside from the three, also facing the same charges are Chan Yee Wah; Zhou Quan/Zhang Quan; consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and his wife Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading; and Emily Luquingan, the ex-wife of Hsu Chun Chung.

Hsu, a Hong Kong national, was the reported liaison behind the 500-kilo shabu shipment that authorities found in the Manila International Container Port in August, hidden in two magnetic lifters.

Of the more than 40 individuals named in the complaints, the DOJ only indicted eight.

"The basic rule is that allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. When the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his allegations, the complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit," the resolution read.

On the other hand, the panel endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the complaint for violation of Section 3 (e) of R.A. 3019 (dereliction of duty and grave misconduct) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Isidro Lapena, Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, dismissed Port of Manila District Collector Vener Baquiran, BOC X-ray Inspection Project head Zsae Carrie De Guzman, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) officer Gorgonio Necessario, Customs Operating Office IV Dolores Domingo, BOC shift supervision Benjamin Cajucom, BOC X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez, customs employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales.

The panel also recommended to the Ombudsman the conduct of a preliminary investigation against Lapena, Baquiran, De Guzman, Morales and Cajucom for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code for failure to impose sanctions or penalize BOC officers involved in the controversy.

The controversy stemmed from the successive discovery of abandoned magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila in August which contained 355 kilos and at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite and also believed to have been used to smuggle1.6 tons of shabu worth multi-billion.

Both Houses of Congress conducted an investigation and recommended the filing of cases against those responsible for the entry of the shipments. /je

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