Duterte trusts Lapeña despite entry of P6.8B worth of shabu
MANILA, Philippines – Customs chief Isidro Lapeña continues to enjoy President Rodrigo Duterte's trust and confidence, said Malacañang on Monday, August 13.
"Ang alam ko buo ang paniniwala pa rin at tiwala ni Presidente kay General Lapeña, at ang nais niyang mangyari ay paano masusugpo ito nang matigil na ang practice na ito," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque during a Palace news briefing.
(To my knowledge, the President still has full trust in General Lapeña, and he wants to find a way to stop this practice.)
"He trusts General Lapeña, he trusts PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). He expects there will be closer coordination between PDEA and Bureau of Customs," Roque added.
He also said the apparently successful entry of 1,000 kilograms of shabu, said to be worth P6.8 billion, is proof of the "sophistication" of drug traffickers, underscoring the need to push on with the campaign against illegal drugs.
"It clearly shows that the problem has an international aspect because these are imports from other countries," said Roque.
Duterte has made the investigation into the illegal shipment a "priority."
"He wants to know the bottom of who’s behind the importation and, of course, he’s raring to apply the full force of the law against those behind these importations," said Roque.
The 1,000 kilograms of shabu entered the country through 4 magnetic scrap lifters, making them undetectable through X-ray.
Government authorities found them empty in a warehouse inside CRS Subdivision, Barangay F. Reyes in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.
The PDEA believes that a certain international drug group, the Golden Triangle Syndicate, is behind the shipment, with the drugs believed to be coming from Taiwan and China.
Confining their probe inside the country, the PDEA and PNP have listed "at least 19" persons of interest, which includes 11 Chinese.
Days before this, the customs bureau also discovered 500 kilos of shabu, hidden as well in magnetic scrap lifters. The shipment, valued at P4.3 billion, allegedly came from Malaysia.
The entry of such a large amount of shabu comes amid Duterte promising a "relentless" and "chilling" campaign against illegal drugs in his State of the Nation Address last month. – Rappler.com