Monday, July 22, 2019

Manhunt begins vs Acierto, others in drug smuggling case

MANILA. In this Sunday, March 24, 2019, photo, former Police Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto gestures during a clandestine news conference for the first time with a select group of journalists in Manila. (AP)

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) activated on Thursday, April 25, the manhunt operations against dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto and other personalities allegedly involved in the smuggling of illegal drugs inside magnetic lifters last year.

“Yesterday, we were able to secure the copies of the warrants of arrest, and we are now conducting manhunt operations,” Albayalde said.

PNP spokesperson Bernard Banac said it will be the court that will decide where to detain them once they are apprehended.

“Once arrested, they will be brought to the court where the order emanated. It will be the court which will decide where they will be detained,” he said.

On August 7, anti-narcotics operatives recovered from two magnetic lifters that were shipped from Malaysia over 500 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) with an estimated value of P4.3 billion.

Two days later, on August 9, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents together with the local police discovered four empty magnetic lifters in a warehouse in Barangay F. Reyes, GMA Cavite.

On April 12, Judge Ma. Bernardita Santos of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 35 issued the arrest warrants against Acierto, former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban, former PDEA deputy director for administration Ismael Fajardo, Chan Yee Wah alias KC Chan, Zhou Quan alias Zhang Quan, consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr., Maria Lagrimas Catipan, and Emily Luquingan.

No bail was recommended.

Guban was taken into custody by the National Bureau of Investigation last April 17.

At least 32 others were implicated, but they were cleared by assistant state prosecutors led by Assistant State Prosecutor Mary Jane Sytat for lack for evidence.

The panel also endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the complaint for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 (dereliction of duty and grave misconduct) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner, now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Isidro Lapena, Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, dismissed Port of Manila District Collector Vener Baquiran, and BOC X-ray Inspection Project head Zsae Carrie de Guzman.

Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) officer Gorgonio Necessario, Customs Operating Officer IV Dolores Domingo, BOC shift supervision Benjamin Cajucom, BOC X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez, customs employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales have also been endorsed for preliminary investigation before the Ombudsman.

Earlier, Acierto admitted he was in hiding due to threats on his life.

He had tagged former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang as among the drug lords he monitored when he was still a part of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.

Acierto’s revelation irked President Rodrigo Duterte, who called the officer “corrupt” for being involved in illegal drugs and kidnapping cases. (SunStar Philippines)


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