Gordon warns BOC’s Guerrero: Beware of ‘treacherous’ customs

Sofia Tomacruz
Gordon warns BOC’s Guerrero: Beware of ‘treacherous’ customs
The senator shows newly-appointed Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero a photo of PDEA officials partying with an ex-cop supposedly involved in billion-peso shabu shipments

Newly-appointed Bureau of Customs chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero received some “friendly advice” from Senator Richard Gordon in the form of a photo when he appeared at the Senate’s investigation into the missing P11-billion shabu (methamphetamine) shipment for the first time as the BOC commissioner.

During the hearing on Thursday, November 22, Gordon flashed a photo of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino, former PDEA deputy director general Ismael Fajardo, and dismissed cop Eduardo Acierto engaged in a conversation.

Gordon said it was taken during the birthday of Fajardo.

“This is really more of a show for the new customs commissioner [Guerrero],” Gordon said as he asked former BOC commissioner Isidro Lapeña to identify the people photographed.

Fajardo was sacked as PDEA deputy director general last September 27, for his suspected involvement in the alleged smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.

At the time, Aquino said Fajardo was dismissed from his post after intelligence officer Jimmy Guban said he and Fajardo had known each other for a “long time,” first as classmates at the Philippine College of Criminology and later coordinating with each other in drug busts.

Guban has been implicated in the alleged smuggling of the suspected shabu. 

Meanwhile, though a link between Guban and Fajardo has been established, it is still unclear whether they cooperated to engage in illegal activities, such as conspiring to make smuggling possible.

During previous hearings on the issue, it was also Guban who pointed to Acierto as responsible for the missing P11-billion worth of shabu shipment and the intercepted P2.4-billion shabu this year.  (Guban ‘tells all’: Ex-cop behind billion-peso shabu shipments)

What does this photo mean? 

Gordon then asked Lapeña to announce when the missing P11 billion shabu shipment was discovered. Lapeña said, “August 7, [2018].”

The senator pointed out the photo was supposedly dated September 3, taken during the birthday of Fajardo – or after both the PDEA and BOC had scrambled to find the missing drugs in the empty giant magnetic lifters later found at a warehouse in Cavite. (TIMELINE: The search for P11-B shabu ‘smuggled’ into PH)

“They’re still having a party,” Gordon said in Filipino.

He added: “That is why i put up this picture here…. I am already cautioning you and advising you as a friend, customs is a very treacherous, very dangerous, and very, very difficult position because you will be tempted every day, every second, every moment, and your own people will try to run rings around you and will try to get you to accept dirty money.”

“I think [former] commissioner Lapeña knows that already,” Gordon said, before moving on. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers defense and foreign affairs. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz.