Anti-corruption body to probe customs officials over alleged collusion with drug smugglers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 12) — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) on Sunday said it will hold an investigation to look into alleged collusion between government officials and drug smugglers, which led to the entry of billions worth of illegal drugs in the country.

PACC commissioner Manuelito Luna said, in a statement, the body will not hesitate to recommend to the President the firing of officials found to be involved in the shipment of over P10 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu".

"PACC finds the facilitated smuggling of over P4 billion and P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs very disturbing and will not take this sitting down," Luna said.

Surigao del Norte Representative Robert "Ace" Barbers said the lower house will also conduct an investigation regarding the drug shipment.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Barbers said the issue is expected to be brought up in the meeting of House committee on dangerous drugs on Tuesday.


The congressman said the inquiry should determine the flaws in the system, the background of importers and consignees, as well as the other individuals accountable.

He is also convinced some officials of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) were involved in the smuggling.

"May collusion yung mga drug lords diyan sa mga opisyales diyan eh," Barbers told CNN Philippines. "Of course we cannot identify now, but hopefully in the course of our investigation, baka ma-identify natin (kung) saan yung mga flaws and loopholes doon sa sistema ng importation at release ng goods."

(Translation: There is collusion between the drug lords and the officials there. Of course we cannot identify now, but hopefully in the course of our investigation, we would be able to identify the flaws and loopholes in the system of importation.)

"Relentless ang ating fight against drugs and still, meron pa ring may lakas ng loob mag-smuggle into the country ng ganitong kalaking halagang shabu."

"So obviously, may contact yan sa loob," he added.

(Translation: Our fight against drugs is relentless, and still, there are people who have the guts to smuggle into the country these huge amounts of drugs. So obviously, they have contacts within the country.)

Barbers added the lower chamber can do a simultaneous probe with the PACC regarding the matter.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday intercepted a suspected shabu shipment estimated at ₱4.3 billion at the Manila port.

Authorities, however, said Friday they were unable to seize P6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs, which were allegedly brought by a Taiwanese drug syndicate inside the country.