‘Pressured’ drug smugglers becoming bolder, but war will be relentless – Palace

Published August 12, 2018, 1:44 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos and Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang said that international drug smugglers are now probably feeling the pressure from the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs for them to take bold steps in order to get the contraband inside the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque announces during a press briefing in Malacañang on March 20, 2018 that the dollar remittances from overseas Filipinos have risen to 2.7 billion in January this year according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque announces during a press briefing in Malacañang on March 20, 2018 that the dollar remittances from overseas Filipinos have risen to 2.7 billion in January this year according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

But Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque warned that the government will spare no one in the relentless war on illegal drugs after the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted businessman Peter Lim on charges of alleged conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.

He said the charges against Lim “shows (the) government’s seriousness and firm resolve in fighting the illicit drug trade.”

“Big fish or small, our war against drugs spares no one. It is a war that drug smugglers and traffickers are bound to lose,” Roque said.

Earlier reports revealed that P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs was able to slip past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last week.

The discovery was made a day after the BOC was able to intercept a P4.3-billion shabu shipment at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

Roque said that President Duterte’s war against drugs is effective due to the low supply of the substance in the country which prompted international drug manufacturers to fill in the supply.

“We view the latest reported foreign drug shipment as a sign that big-timer drug manufacturers and smugglers are becoming bolder with a dwindled local supply as they feel the pressure from the government’s campaign against illegal drugs,” he said.

The Palace official, however, assured that the government is coordinating with its counterparts abroad to get to the bottom of the shipment.

“Our authorities are now working with their foreign counterparts to help with the probe,” Roque said.

According to Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña, a timely intelligence report could have prevented the release of four magnetic lifters that contained the illegal drugs which ended up in Cavite.

It was reported that the four empty magnetic lifters arrived from Taiwan to the MICP on July 11, 2018. It was cleared and released three days later.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) earlier said that it is possible that some Customs officials were involved in making the shipment slip past the Bureau.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) commissioner Manuelito Luna said that they will conduct a parallel inquiry into the reported collusion of some corrupt customs officials with notorious smugglers which led to the entry of billions worth of illegal drugs into the country.

“PACC finds the facilitated smuggling of over P4 billion and P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs very disturbing and will not take this sitting down,” he said.

Luna said the PACC will be summoning personalities to shed light on the matter and will not hesitate to recommend to the President the firing of public officials found to be remiss in the performance of duties or worse, acted in conspiracy with smugglers in facilitating the entry of the contraband.

The Commission’s power to investigate “motu proprio” the incidents emanates from Executive Order no. 43 signed by President Duterte in October last year.
PACC was created to assist the President in investigating and hearing administrative cases against presidential appointees with salary grade 26 and higher.

 
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