Criminal raps filed vs. Acierto, Fajardo over shabu haul in magnetic lifters

Criminal raps filed vs. Acierto, Fajardo over shabu haul in magnetic lifters

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MANILA — Criminal charges have been filed against eight individuals led by dismissed Senior Supt. Eduardo P. Acierto and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo as core conspirators in connection with the smuggling of more than 300 kilos of shabu which found its way into the country inside magnetic lifters last year.

In a 45-page resolution dated April 8, 2019, the four-man Department of Justice panel of prosecutors led by Mary Jane Sytat, found probable cause to indict Acierto, Fajardo, Customs intelligence officer Jimmy S. Guban and others for violation of Section 4 (importation of illegal drugs) in relation to Section 26 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Likewise named in the charges were Chan Yee Wah, Zhou Quan/Zhang Quan, consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and his wife Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading and Emily Luquingan, the ex-wife of Hsu Chun Chung.

Hsu allegedly was the liaison in the shabu shipment that authorities found in the Manila International Container Port in August.

Forty individuals were earlier named by the National Bureau of Investigation in the charges.

“The basic rule is that allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. Charges based on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. When the complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his allegations, the complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit,” the resolution read.

Separate charges were also endorsed by the DOJ panel to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation on the complaint for violation of Section 3 (e) of RA 3019 (dereliction of duty and grave misconduct) against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general Isidro Lapeña, Fajardo, Acierto, Guban, dismissed Port of Manila District Collector Vener Baquiran, BOC X-ray Inspection Project head Zsae Carrie De Guzman, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer Gorgonio Necessario, Customs Operating Officer IV Dolores Domingo, BOC shift supervision Benjamin Cajucom, BOC X-ray operator and analyst Manuel Martinez, and Customs employees Joseph Dimayuga and John Mar Morales.

The panel also recommended to the Ombudsman the conduct of a preliminary investigation against Lapeña, Baquiran, de Guzman, Morales and Cajucom for violation of Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code for failure to impose sanctions or penalize BOC officers involved in the controversy.

The magnetic lifters at the Port of Manila were discovered in August containing 355 kilos and at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite also believed to have been used to smuggle 1.6 tons of shabu. (PNA)

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