Senate panel clears Lapeña in ₱11-B shabu scandal

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 17) — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee did not name the former Customs chief among those suspected to be responsible in the P11-billion shabu smuggling case.

It stated, however, that despite the absence of Isidro Lapeñas' name among those recommended to be probed, "this is not to say that those involved cannot go any higher."

The 45-page report released Monday said 19 people should be investigated further for their supposed involvement in the issue:

  • Former Police Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto
  • Former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo
  • Former Customs intelligence agent Jimmy Guban
  • Marina Signapan
  • Katrina Grace Cuasay
  • Joseph Dimayuga
  • Gorgonio Necessario
  • Meg Santos
  • X-ray examiner Noli Martinez
  • Appraiser Girlie Umali
  • Examiner Jenaline Garcia
  • KC Chan
  • Hsu Chung-Chun
  • Zhang Guan
  • Lin Tien Yi
  • Lou Tian Yi
  • Chen Minxuan
  • Fung
  • Ping Cheung James

"We find that the following needs be further investigated by the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Ombudsman, and by other concerned agencies of government for both administrative, and/or criminal culpability," the report said of the named individuals.

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The committee, however, recommended that Guban be put under the DOJ's witness protection program for his "vital cooperation in the investigation that allowed us to discover the methods used and who were responsible for these crimes; and with the Committee's preliminary findings that he is not the "most guilty."

The report said Acierto was the "linchpin" in the case, adding "until and unless, there are other facts and circumstances that will surface in the future, it stands to reason that Acierto, indeed, was the main man."

Those named were accused of violating Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, among others.

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