Finding P6.8-B shabu already ‘wishful thinking’

Rambo Talabong
'I think that would be wishful thinking already, from all the indiciations that we have,' says Representative Romeo Acop

WHERE IS IT? PDEA agents secure four empty magnetic scrap lifters, similar to the two abandoned inside a 40-foot container at the MICP with an estimated 500 kilos of Shabu, inside a warehouse in Cavite on August 10, 2018. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Finding the alleged missing 1 ton of shabu (methamphetamine) worth P6.8 billion which passed through the Bureau of Customs is already “wishful thinking.”  This was the conclusion of Antipolo Representative Romeo Acop Thursday, August 30 during the House committee on dangerous drugs hearing into the controversy.

Kung makuha ang illegal drugs doon (If it’s about getting the drugs from there), I think that would be wishful thinking already, from all the indiciations that we have,” Acop said, who is a retired police general.

Acop commented on the desire of House committee chairperson Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative Ace Barbers to look for the “corpus delicti,” which is the missing shabu.

“We may just end up in this hearing trying to on one side whether there was drugs or there was no drugs at all,” Barbers said, adding that he wanted to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” for the probe.

Investigator’s perspective: Acop urged Barbers and other congressmen to look at the case also through the lens of the investigators, which see the leads in the case: that the empty magnetic lifters found in Cavite look similar to those shabu-filled containers found at the Manila port.

“You can really see that they are the same. You can see that they can be opened at the same parts,” Acop added.

Acop said that when President Rodrigo Duterte expressed doubt in the presence of illegal drugs, he was assessing the case “as a lawyer and prosecutor.”

This does not mean, however, that the probe of the PDEA should already end, Acop added. In the previous hearing, he pointed out that the information that PDEA holds remains to be circumstantial. – 

Read stories from the House’s probe so far: 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.