Duterte says shabu in magnetic lifters 'pure speculation'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte described as "pure speculation" the claim of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that P6.8-billion worth of shabu was smuggled inside the magnetic lifters found in Cavite.

"Yung sabi nila na (What they said that) they found the metal but they opened it but [there] was none. It was pure speculation. They were assuming that those metal – there was nothing," said Duterte on Tuesday, August 14 during the launch of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat program in Malacañang.

This means Duterte backs the assertion of Customs chief Isidro Lapeña that there was no shabu inside the 4 metal lifters.

Lapeña said swab testing by his bureau showed the lifters yielded negative results for shabu.

Duterte also cautioned against making such "assumptions" but he did not specifically name PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.

"I am not convinced. Next time you do not go into a speculative contents," said the President.

It was PDEA that said traces of shabu in the magnetic lifters caused their drug-sniffing dogs to sit down beside them.

Aquino explained in an earlier media briefing that the lifters contained illegal drugs because they matched the earlier intercepted lifters, which carried 500 kilograms. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.