MANILA, August 1 — A ranking member of the House of Representatives on Tuesday took a swipe at Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials for their failure to stop the entry of PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) shipment from China.
During a congressional hearing on the multi-billion peso shabu shipment, House Dangerous Drugs Committee Chair Ace Barbers pointed out the “glaring ineptitude” of Customs officials and personnel for allowing the cargo containing illegal drugs to pass “right under their very noses.”
“In the first place, those drugs have passed right under their very noses, either undetected due to their gross incompetence or because their noses can only smell crisp bills and not crystals,” Barbers said.
“There is no debate even among the Customs people that indeed the drugs came from their yard,” he added.
Barbers said his committee will look into the “terribly bungled operation” that the BOC conducted in the “pretense of a raid” that resulted in the recovery of the PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu.
“How and why such a golden opportunity to catch a big fish turned into the worst fishing expedition. The government may not even have a case at all against the shabu smugglers due to the seemingly intentional bungling of the operation,” Barbers said.
“We will also look into the possible connivance and link between the BOC officials, brokers, and importers in the smuggling of illegal drugs and the possible attempt to cover-up in order to protect some drug personalities or drug lords themselves,” Barbers added.
The lawmaker also expressed his intent to craft a bill that seeks to impose stringent qualifications on “sensitive positions” in the Customs Bureau.
The illegal shipment was discovered on May 30 when members of the BOC and National Bureau of Investigation personnel raided a warehouse on Aster Street in Paso de Blas, Valenzuela City, based on a tip coming from their Chinese counterparts.
The consignee of the subject cargo carrying the shabu was identified as EMT Trading.