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Lapeña debunks PDEA Chief’s claims

BOC probing entry of magnetic lifters with ‘shabu’

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By Betheena Kae Unite

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña shot back Thursday at his successor at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for claiming that the price of “shabu” has gone down because a huge shipment of the illegal substance slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently.

BOC chief Isidro Lapeña (Alberto Garcia)

BOC chief Isidro Lapeña (Alberto Garcia)

“It’s a speculation and it’s even exaggerated,” reacted Lapeña to the claim of PDEA Director-General Aaron N. Aquino that the dropping prices of “shabu” could be blamed on the undiscovered P6.8-billion drug shipment in Cavite.

Last Wednesday, Aquino said in a television interview that the cheaply-priced methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu circulating in the streets today is part of the ton of shabu that slipped from the BOC.

“As I have been saying, I will go by the investigation but any conclusion cannot be derived at this point of time because there is still investigation going on. It is not an accurate basis kung bakit naging mababa ang presyo ng shabu (of low prices of shabu),” Lapeña said.

Lapeña stressed that the reported drop in prices of shabu is driven by supply and demand.

“It is either when there is so much supply then it can drive the price of shabu down if the demand is low then it can drive the prices of shabu down, so it can go either way. It is either the supply is high or the demand is low,” he said.

He also reiterated that the presence of shabu on the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite remains speculation and to declare that it is valued at P6.8-billion is “even exaggerated.”

Investigation

Lapeña also rejected Aquino’s claim that he never heard BOC Chief order a full-blown investigation on the illegal drugs case and fire personnel over the incident.

Debunking Aquino’s claim, Lapeña said he already directed the creation of a committee that will investigate the shipments of two magnetic lifters with shabu discovered at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

He said that committee is also investigating the shipment of the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite that was cleared via customs cargo clearance.

“Another committee was created to conduct the investigation on the involvement of Mr. Jimmy Guban (Customs Intelligence officer) and as a result — he was suspended and relieved from his position even before the director general of PDEA suspended Director (Ismael) Fajardo,” Lapeña said.

“Way ahead, even before the revelation of Fajardo’s involvement came to fall, we already had this ahead of PDEA,” he added.

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