China urged to take probe on P6.4B shabu shipment seriously
The government of China should take seriously the investigation on the P6.4 billion worth of illegal drugs shipped to the Philippines from their country, Senator Richard Gordon said on Tuesday.
“China should take this seriously. They must know we take great offense if they do not do anything about this problem,” Gordon told reporters.
“As far as I am concerned, mahirap makipagdeal sa China kung pinapakuha tayo ng drugs… I will use the words of our President, China is shabulizing the country,” he said.
The Senate blue ribbon committee, which Gordon chairs, conducted on Tuesday its fifth inquiry on the shipment of 605 kilograms of shabu (metamphetamine hydrochloride) that went past the inspection of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The controversial shipment from China is the biggest delivery of drugs under President Duterte’s administration.
Last Aug. 14, Gordon wrote to Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III about his request for the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s assistance pursuant to the mutual legal assistance treaty on criminal matters between the Philippines and China.
“The Blue Ribbon committee would like to avail itself of this treaty to be able to obtain relevant information and documents from Chinese authorities who investigated this shipment of illegal drugs to the Philippines referred to by Mr. Chen; and the reported apprehension by Chinese authorities of certain persons involved in the said shipment. We are looking at many issues, and seek answers to questions,” he wrote.
One of the issues Gordon intends to ask to the Chinese authorities was businessman Richard Tan’s claim that those who sent the cylinders containing drugs to the country have already been apprehended in China.
“Is this true? If yes, who are these people responsible for the export of drugs? Where are they now? How have their cases been disposed? This is especially relevants because the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) found three similar cylinders containing traces of shabu in an abandoned apartment by a Taiwanese in Sampaloc, Manila,” Gordon asked.
The senator also raised question on the fact that the Chinese anti-drug authorities alerted Tan about the presence of drugs in the cylinders unloaded in his warehouse before reporting it to Philippine authorities.
“This is a crucial question especially considering that Mr. Chen is a businessman supposedly with no contacts among Philippine government officials,” he said.
Richard Tan or Chen Ju Long owns the Hongfei Logistics warehouse in Valenzuela City where the authorities found metal cylinders containing packs of shabu.
In the hearing, Tan said a day before the raid last May, a Chinese Customs officer called and informed him that the cylinders brought to his warehouse had illegal drugs inside them.
Tan said he was then instructed by the officer to stop the delivery of crates to its consignee and report to Philippine Customs authorities that the shipment contained shabu.
Tan then tipped off BOC officials, who later launched a raid into his warehouse.
Senator Franklin Drilon said the Philippine government can ask China on the issues but they need not respond to the request.
“We can ask them but they need not response to us. They are a sovereign nation. We can always ask, nothing wrong with asking, baka sakaling sumagot. Pero kung hindi sumagot, wala tayong magagawa,” Drilon said.
Gordon, meanwhile, stressed that if China would not cooperate, then the Philippine government should not have any relations with China.
“Nagsimula sa inyo ang droga, matatapos sa inyo iyan. Kung hindi kayo mag-cooperate, then I don’t think we should have any relations with China,” Gordon said.
“This is a hostile act, sending drugs here. Sixty percent of the drugs that are coming in here in the Philippines are coming from the people of Chinese ancestry,” he added. JE
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