Barbers says drug traffickers may be using private planes, too

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Thursday, Feb. 16, warned against the possible use of private jets to smuggle illegal drugs into the country amid a recent human trafficking incident involving a private plane.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (Photo by Ellson Quismorio/MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement, the lawmaker also criticized public officials and employees for the breach in security.

“Heads must roll in this incident. This cannot take place innocently and without the knowledge of those who are tasked to implement strict controls in our airports and all other ports of entry and exit,” he said.

“Once again, our security has been compromised and the public salaried officials and employees are caught sleeping on their jobs. Those responsible should not be given the kid gloves treatment,” Barbers, chairman of the House Committee in Dangerous Drugs, added.

The lawmaker stressed that he had already warned against the modus of using private planes to smuggle illegal drugs.

He called on the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) on the incident.

READ: Senate eyes probe into private plane allegedly being used for human trafficking

“If human trafficking can take place, how much more with illegal drugs?,” Barbers asked as he was reminded alerting officials “years ago” after receiving “unconfirmed reports of such activities.”

“This might explain the abundance of supply even during the war on drugs. The accidental discovery of the latest illegal activity could be but the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The lawmaker raised these concerns after Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said he received reports that an unauthorized private jet departed from the Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The special flight supposedly carried more passengers than the number of those declared in the flight manifest.