Quezon governor and Liberal Party treasurer, faces probe over drug transshipments

May 10, 2010 12:50 am 

MANILA, May 9 -– Authorities are poised to investigate Quezon Governor Rafael Nantes for any knowledge about the discovery of drug transshipments and manufacturing base on the island of Icolong in the province.

Nantes, who is also a former congressman, is the national treasurer of the Liberal Party (LP) whose standard-bearer, Senator Benigno Aquino III, is the front-runner in presidential surveys.

“This is an international drug operation which is happening in the town of Burdeos. That should raise alarm on Governor Nantes. In fact, there is suspicion on the local government of letting this happen,” said Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) Director for Region 13 Philip A. Placer.

He said with the discovery of transshipments in the island, it is feared that the country will become a center or transshipment point for high-value drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).

He noted there was a United States Drug Enforcement Agency (USDEA) report which, essentially, warned of drug money making its way to unscrupulous politicians and making the hotly-contested presidential election susceptible to influence by this massive illegal operations inimical to national security.

Placer as well as well-placed sources from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said there has been no representation from the Quezon provincial capitol to address the drug threat in the province.

The PASG stumbled upon the drug transshipment and manufacturing base last Thursday night on Icolong Island in Quezon province.

The PASG said Saturday its teams spent 14 hours along the western coast of Southern Luzon last Thursday to trace the nautical route of misdeclared import shipments in violation of the Tariff Code.

Placer said his agents followed a suspicious shipment that ended in a safehouse in Sitio Sabang, Barangay Judith in Burdeos on Icolong Island and immediately did a raid.

Placer said in the raid of the Akira Sakurai & Hiro Taniguchi, Howa Inc. Pearl Farm, they uncovered chemicals that are used in the manufacture of “shabu,” giving physical credence to the US intelligence report of narco-politics shaping up in the country.

PASG operatives confiscated highly-regulated chemicals such as potassium nitrate, disodium nitrogen phosphate, sodium orthosilicate N-hydrate powder, and sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate.

Placer said Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of the Cavite Regional Trial Court Branch 22 issued the warrants to search the premises based on reliable information received by the PASG in a case against the Pearl Farm.

The operation came amid the leaking out of the USDEA report three weeks ago that US$ 8.4 billion (P384 billion) worth of dangerous drugs were “either being generated, passes through or is used by drug syndicates in the Philippines,” he said. (PNA)

dct/LAP/JCA

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