Gordon cites 4 witnesses in contempt over absence at shabu probe
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday, November 22, cited in contempt 4 witnesses who have continued to skip the Senate blue ribbon committee hearings on the missing P11-billion shabu shipment.
During the Senate probe on Thursday, Gordon expressed dismay when the following witnesses again failed to appear before the panel:
- Dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto
- Sacked Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director General for Administration Ismael Fajardo
- SMYD Trading owner Marina Signapan
- Emily Laquingan
“I have already invited certain people here who are crucial to the investigation and they have not been showing up.... After [sending] notice to the following, they remain absent and refuse to come here,” Gordon said.
"We are now going to issue contempt orders so that we can get these people back here," he added.
Gordon said he wanted the 4 "picked up" so they can attend the Senate hearings, and if they again fail to appear, they would be arrested.
During the roll call, the companions of Signapan who were invited to the hearing said she had sent them a text message that she could not attend because she was sick.
To this, Gordo said, “A text is not sufficient,” and then moved to cite her in contempt.
During the September 19 hearing, Gordon had moved to detain Signapan for supposedly “lying” about who paid her to be a consignee of an alleged drug shipment.
At the Thursday hearing, Gordon also moved to cite in contempt Acierto, Fajardo, and Laquingan.
Acierto and Fajardo have been no-shows at the Senate and House hearings on the missing shabu shipment.
Former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban had pointed to Acierto as responsible for the missing P11-billion shabu shipment and the intercepted P2.4-billion shabu shipment this year. Guban claimed it was Acierto who instructed him to facilitate the drug shipments. (Guban 'tells all': Ex-cop behind billion-peso shabu shipments)
Fajardo had not been attending the hearings since PDEA chief Aaron Aquino relieved him of his post for his alleged involvement in the case.
As for Laquingan, a representative named Vergie Ballente said she was sent to the hearing to explain Laquingan's side.
Laquingan is said to be the former wife of a certain "KC Chan" or "Hsu Chun Chung," the alleged liaison of the drug syndicate involved in drug smuggling in the Philippines.
Gordon said he was informed by Philippines Ambassador to China Chito Sta Romana that Chan was now believed to be in Hong Kong. – Rappler.com