Senate detains Customs intel officer for lying in P6.8-B smuggled shabu hearing

Camille Elemia
Senate detains Customs intel officer for lying in P6.8-B smuggled shabu hearing
Jimmy Guban of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service was cited in contempt and then detained at the Senate starting Tuesday, September 11

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has detained a Bureau of Customs intelligence officer over his supposed false testimony during the blue ribbon committee hearing on the P6.8-billion worth of smuggled shabu. (READ: How P6.8-B ‘shabu’ slipped past PNP, PDEA, Customs)

Senate President Vicente Sotto III confirmed the detention of Jimmy Guban of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service on Wednesday, September 12.

“Yes, I have signed his confinement order since yesterday,” Sotto told reporters in a text message.

May bagong naka-check in sa (There’s a new guest checked-in at the) OSAA (Office of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms) pension house,” Sotto joked, as opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV remained holed up in the Senate following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to revoke his amnesty.

During the hearing on Tuesday, September 11, Senate blue ribbon committee chair Richard Gordon moved to cite Guban in contempt after failing to answer questions on the identity of his so-called handler. (READ: Patterns emerge in 2017, 2018 shabu probes)

“I will put you in jail now. You do not lie. Kanina ka pa mayabang dito (You have been arrogant all along)!” Gordon said.

Gordon found inconsistencies in Guban’s testimonies and said the latter made questionable transactions that facilitated the drug shipment. (READ: TIMELINE: The search for P6.8-B shabu ‘smuggled’ into PH)

Gordon said it was Guban who tapped Joel Maritana, a welder and scavenger from Bacoor, Cavite, to act as the “fall guy” to protect Marina dela Cruz Signapan, owner of consignee SMYD Trading.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority had implicated SMYD Trading in the illegal shipment, saying it used the consignee-for-hire scheme.

Aside from detention, Gordon told Customs chief Isidro Lapeña and PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino to expedite the investigation into Guban’s involvement. –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email