Senate to detain importer for lying in P6.8-B smuggled shabu hearing

Sofia Tomacruz
Senate to detain importer for lying in P6.8-B smuggled shabu hearing

Rappler

Senator Richard Gordon cited in contempt Marina Signapan, owner of SMYD Trading, refusing to believe her claim that she was merely paid to be the consignee of the illegal drugs shipment

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, moved to detain the owner of SMYD Trading Marina Signapan, for lying during the hearing on the P6.8-billion worth of smuggled shabu

Gordon accused Signapan of not telling the truth about who paid her to be a consignee of a shipment that allegedly contained illegal drugs. Signapan repeatedly insisted a certain Joel Maritana had paid her P180,000 to do so. However, Maritana has denied Signapan’s claim. 

“I’m convinced that she appears to be lying, since she has already lied previously on the fact she is a consignee. The chair hereby declares this Ms Signapan under contempt of the Senate and she is hereby confined here at the Senate premises to be guarded by the sergeant at arms,” Gordon said.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority had implicated SMYD Trading in the illegal shipment, saying it used the consignee-for-hire scheme. (TIMELINE: The search for P6.8-B shabu ‘smuggled’ into PH)

Should Senate President Tito Sotto approve Gordon’s motion, Signapan will be the second person involved in the investigation of the P6.8 smuggled shabu to be detained in the Senate. Last September 12, the Senate detained Bureau of Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban for failing to answer questions on the identity of his so-called handler.

Gordon said Guban and Signapan have until Friday, September 21 to “tell the truth” before they will be moved to the Pasay City Jail.

“I want her to tell the truth. And it is very obvious she is not telling the truth,” Gordon told reporters in an ambush interview.

He added, “Guban started telling the truth already, he begun to admit but the woman kept on insisting that Joel (Maritana paid her). But Joel is the guy that Guban brought in so I am putting a little pressure so that they might talk on Friday.”

In a previous hearing, Gordon said it was Guban who tapped 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.

Guban also admitted that former police offical Eduardo Acierto had instructed him to look for a consignee for the shipment. He likewise claimed it was also Acierto who directed him to tap Maritana when asked why the latter needed to be involved.

In 2015, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Acierto along with other Philippine National Police officials over their alleged involvement in the sale of 1,004 AK-47s to communist rebels.

Highlighting Acierto’s supposed involvement in the issue, Gordon said he would issue a subpoena for Acierto to appear in the next Senate hearing. – Rappler.com 

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.