THE customs intelligence agent suspected of involvement in the rampant smuggling of illegal drugs into the country yesterday found himself in a deeper hole at the conclusion of the second hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the issue.
With a lot of damning sworn testimonies in hand, committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon cut short the winding testimonies of some of the invited resource persons as regards the discovery last August 7 of 355 kilos of shabu worth over P4 billion at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
Reading from one of the testimonies, Gordon said customs intelligence agent, Jimmy Guban, “knows” how to open the solid steel, magnetic scrap lifters where the illegal drugs were subsequently found.
As if to stress the correctness of his information, Gordon said the statement came from one of Guban’s own men at the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Gorgonio Necessario, who claimed he was present when the shipment, consigned to Vecaba Trading, was opened by customs and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) officials.
Committee sources told this writer that Gordon also has testimonies of other witnesses who also saw Guban at a warehouse in GMA, Cavite, last August 9, where he apparently knows how to locate the portion of a similar shipment of magnetic lifters revealing their hollow spaces inside.
According to the PDEA, the abandoned, empty scrap lifters found at the warehouse contained at least 1,000 kilos of shabu valued at over P6.8 billion.
Gordon also noted that despite his meager salary of around P22,000 a month, Guban has been abroad several times, including Singapore, the United States and Malaysia.
Airing his suspicion, Gordon noted that it was several days after Guban returned from Malaysia that the Vecaba Trading drug shipment, also said to come from Malaysia, arrived at the MICP.
“There are so many closely-linked ‘coincidences’ here,” Gordon said.
Guban, who has been under detention for contempt and for “lying” before the committee after the hearing last September 11, was joined yesterday by trader Marina dela Cruz Signapan as a Senate “detainee.”
Signapan, owner of SMYD Trading that brought in the shipment found at the warehouse in Cavite, was detained after standing by her original testimony that she received P180,000 from Joel Maritana for the use of her company as a consignee for the shipment.
Maritana, a welder and scavenger from Cavite, had retracted his first testimony claiming ownership of the shipment and pointed to Guban as the one who “requested” him to sign an affidavit to this effect. The two are members of the “Guardians,” a civilian group with close ties to the military.