TWO officials from the Bureau of Customs (BoC) are seeking inclusion in the government’s ‘Witness Protection Program’ (WPP) to protect their lives over their statements related to the ongoing Senate investigation on the smuggling of illegal drugs into the country and which the BoC allegedly failed to apprehend on time.
According to Senate Blue Ribbon Committee (SBRC) chairman, Sen. Richard Gordon, he had already made arrangements for the transfer yesterday to the custody of the Department of Justice, WPP administrator, of BoC intelligence agent, Jimmy Guban.
Briefing reporters yesterday after another gruelling 4-hour hearing of the committee, Gordon also bared that Atty. Lourdes Mangaoang, customs deputy collector for passenger service at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) had also sought his help in applying for the WPP.
Mangaoang bared that she has been receiving threatening anonymous phone calls and messages since being summoned by the SBRC and Congress to lend her expertise in resolving whether the four magnetic scrap lifters found abandoned last August at a warehouse in Cavite contained illegal drugs.
It was Mangaoang’s testimonies that convinced lawmakers that a drug syndicate had indeed managed to smuggle in over 1,000 kilos of shabu hidden inside the magnetic lifters and valued at over P6.8 billion.
On the other hand, it was established that Guban is a member of the drug syndicate that brought in the illegal drugs.
Guban has been under Senate custody since the start of the hearing after being found in contempt by the SBRC.
Reading from his sworn statement, Guban again put the burden of the blame for the drug smuggling on the shoulder of dismissed police colonel, Jojo Acierto, who was not present yesterday.
Acierto’s counsel, Atty. Ralph Calinisan, said his client cannot be contacted, further adding that Acierto has also been receiving death threats.
Not present yesterday, “because he knows he is already ‘cornered,’” said, Gordon, is Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deputy director general, Ismael Fajardo.
From the ongoing SBRC probe, it appears that Fajardo, Acierto and Guban are central figures of a local drug syndicates regularly shipping illegal drugs into the country.
Calinisan insists however that his client is innocent from all the accusations now being made against him by Guban.