By Mario Casayuran
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will file within the week criminal charges against an alleged Chinese drug lord after the Bureau of Customs took possession of P1 billion worth of ‘’shabu’’ (crystal meth) that both government agencies decided to sell through customs auction.
This delayed reaction did not sit well with Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee, because the alleged drug lord is said to be on the International Police (Interpol) watchlist and among the wanted personalities in China.
During a privilege speech last Wednesday, Lacson said the alleged drug lord, Zhijian Xu, alias ‘’Jacky Co,’’ of Fujian, China, was in the country monitoring the arrival of his illegal drug shipment.
Jacky Co easily left the country days after the seizure of the 146-kilo ‘’shabu’’ shipment.
“One may wonder: how can a person of such character slip the stringent scrutiny of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel manning our airports considering that the BID now uses ’state-of-the-art, biometrics-based system for its computers in all international airports nationwide?,’’ Lacson asked.
‘’Even revolting is, despite his alleged involvement in criminal activities here and in China, he (Co) left the Manila via Philippine Airlines flight bound for Vietnam passing through Singapore on April 3, [a] few days after the seizure of drugs,’’ Lacson said.
The contraband arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last March 22. It came from Cambodia.
In a radio interview yesterday, Lacson said somebody at the Philippine National Police (PNP) texted him that the PDEA would file charges against Co within the week.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, said that Co is also a part of a big kidnapping syndicate that collects ransom from kidnap victims through wire transfer and offshore banking.
‘’Ang huling kidnapping na kinasangkutan ni Jacky Co ay nagkakahalaga ng P250 million,’’ he said. (The last kidnapping Co was involved in had a ransom payment of P250 million).
Jacky Co, according to Lacson, is the owner of Feidatong International Logistics Company based in Bulacan.
The 114 bags of shabu inside aluminum pallets were auctioned off because it was cleared by PDEA Regional Director III Joel B. Plaza.
The shipment declared as ‘’tapioca starch’’ does ‘’not contain any dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals,’’ Plaza said.
The shipment was immediately auctioned off because officials stated that it is a perishable item.
The winning bidder, Goldwin Commercial of Santolan, Malabon City, notified the BOC that the goods he bought through auction contained shabu when an aluminum foil containing the illegal drug fell during a cleaning process.
‘’Mr. President, we put the PDEA and BOC on notice that we were not born yesterday,’’ he said in his speech.
Lacson said he feels bad because TV or other media reports show poor drug runners being killed in the drug war but drug lords are enjoying life with their profits from the multi-billion-peso drug trade.
He brushed off claims by the PDEA and BOC that they allowed the P1 billion drug shipment to be auctioned off to draw from the woodwork those in the syndicate to bid for the drug shipment through the so-called ‘’controlled delivery.’’