By Betheena Kae Unite
Vecaba Trading International, the consignee of the seized 500 kilos of shabu Tuesday, was found to have no other transaction with the Bureau of Customs aside from the foiled large-scale drug smuggling, Customs Chief Isidro Lapena bared.
Lapena clarified on Thursday that records showed that Vecaba Trading has no other prior transactions with the Bureau other than the P3.4-billion drug smuggling attempt at the Manila International Container Port.
“Again, Vecaba Trading has no other transactions with the Bureau of Customs and this intercepted shipment is the only shipment they have imported. Our data nationwide, from all ports, yielded negative record of any other transactions from Vecaba Trading,” the commissioner said in a briefing.
“I would like to inform the public that the intercepted shipment was abandoned by the consignee, which means that the consignee or importer did not file the entry for fear of discovery,” he added.
Lapena explained that the filing of an entry is a pre-condition for the issuance of an alert order “but pursuant to the powers granted to my office by law, I have immediately instructed that the container be put on hold.”
“I can issue the necessary alert order at any time or put any container on hold in similar situations upon the request of any government agency,” Lapena stressed.
It can be recalled that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency received a report that a certain shipment of illegal drugs have entered the country and has been abandoned, prompting the Customs Bureau to open the shipment which was found to contain two magnetic lifter cylinder concealing the contraband.
Inside the first magnetic lifter cylinder yielded 23 pieces of two-pack bundles wrapped in aluminum foil and 43 pieces of three-pack bundles wrapped also in aluminum foil, all containing shabu.
Found in the second magnetic lifter cylinder were 87 pieces of two-pack bundles and one-pack wrapped in aluminum foil, all containing shabu.
The Bureau chief also pointed out the importance of information and intelligence sharing between agencies to foil any attempt of smuggling of any commodity.
Lapena also said that an internal investigation is now underway to determine the Customs personnel who have a contact with the consignee.
“We are not dismissing the possibility of collusion between Customs personnel and people outside the bureau,” he said.