Shabu in controversial magnetic lifters possible

October 24, 2018
Isidro Lapeña
Isidro Lapeña

CUSTOMS Commissioner Isidro Lapeña backtracked yesterday during a joint congressional inquiry and admitted that the four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite could have contained shabu.

“With what’s going on now, the circumstantial evidence and the testimonies as an investigator will tend to believe that indeed may laman ‘yan sir, we believe that,” Lapeña responded to the questions of Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop during the resumption of the joint House committees on dangerous drugs and on good government and public accountability chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, respectively.

Lapeña said there are questions concerning the emptied magnetic lifters and these could contain “certain cargoes.”

“That’s designed to contain certain cargoes kasi,” said Lapeña.

“With this development, I will tend to believe that indeed there was a content that has been peddled by this group, by this drugs system,” Lapeña added.

Barbers sought a demonstration of magnetic lifters with shabu and without the banned substance to see if they could be detected in X-ray images.

The truth, please

Who is telling the truth?

This was the question raised during a joint congressional hearing yesterday after two Customs x-ray inspector-experts contradicted former Customs X-ray division chief and Deputy Collector Lourdes Mangaoang that the four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite allegedly contained P6.8-billion worth of shabu.

John Mar Morales, a long-time BoC x-ray inspector currently assigned at the Port of Batangas, and Manuel Martinez, a BoC x-ray inspector who examined the four magnetic lifters, opposed Mangaong’s allegation against the BoC during the resumption of the joint House committees on dangerous drugs and on good government and public accountability chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, respectively.

“Sa presentation na ginawa ko, sa x-ray image makikita po natin na wala akong nakita sa loob ng magnetic lifters na may kakaiba siya,” Morales told the joint panel hearing on the continued failure of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to prevent the large-scale smuggling of illegal substances in the country based on House Resolution (HR) No. 2068 of Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo.