By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will conduct its own investigation over the smuggled P1.8 billion worth of illegal drugs involving Chinese national Jacky Co, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra stated Friday.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra
(TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Guevarra said this even after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) Friday criminal complaints against Xu Zhi Jian alias Jacky Co and several others concerning the shipment which was discovered last March 22 at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
“The DOJ will direct the NBI to conduct its own investigation of the subject illegal drug importation and, if evidence warrants, to file the appropriate complaint against the persons found responsible, therefore,” the Secretary told reporters.
On the other hand, Guevarra refuted the claims of Sen. Panfilo Lacson who said that nothing was done to prevent Co from leaving the country last April 3 despite being already in the watch list of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
“According to the consul general of China, a certain Xu Zhijian (also known as Jacky Co) has a pending case in China. However, he is not in the Interpol watchlist, and this is certified by the Interpol NCB (National Central Bureau) Manila,” said the DOJ chief.
Apart from this, Guevarra said he was also informed by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that there were no records that Co left the Philippines last April 3. The BI is an agency attached under the DOJ.
“The BI records show, however, that a certain Xu Zhijian left on 20 March 2019,” he noted.
“As there was no existing hold-departure order against the said person, nor any Interpol alert, during that time, the BI allowed said a person to depart,” Guevarra pointed out.
An HDO can only be issued a court only after charges have been filed against a person.