China statement clears Customs officials – Estrella

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China’s confirmation that the seizure of 604 kilos of shabu in May was the result of the cooperation between Philippine and Chinese officials exonerated former officials of the Bureau of Customs accused of conspiracy with importers of the illegal drugs, according to retired Col. Neil Anthony Estrella.

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The former chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) said China’s condemnation of “false news” concerning the recovery of illegal drugs should erase suspicion that Customs officials were involved in the shipment of the contraband.

China’s statement “disproved the conspiracy theory expounded by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA),” he added.

Estrella and his team seized the illegal drugs from a warehouse in Valenzuela City following a tip from a Chinese customs official.

However, the PDEA filed charges against Estrella, former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and several others officials with conspiracy to import illegal drugs based on the testimony of customs fixer Mark Taguba 2nd.
Taguba had claimed that he gave several Customs officials and personnel millions of pesos in exchange for the speedy release of his shipments.

Estrella denied receiving any money from Taguba.

“These false reports have been going around to destroy us with one purpose: to protect the guilty including Mark Taguba, at the expense of those of us in customs law enforcement who did our jobs. China has specifically condemned these false reports in its statement,” he said. “There appears to be a conspiracy between our accusers and Taguba to destroy us so Taguba and company can go scot-free. The PDEA has no case against us.”

In a statement released by the Chinese embassy on Tuesday, China expressed dismay over “false reports” on the seizure of the shabu shipment. It said the coordination between Chinese and Philippine officials led to the discovery of the illegal drugs.

It added that it was unfair to point to China as the source of the illegal drugs.

“These false reports have a negative effect on deepening China-Philippines cooperation in drug control; will hold back elimination of drug problem, the two countries’ relations and the fundamental interests of the people in our region,” the statement said.

Estrella said the embassy’s statement should put to rest speculations that they were in cahoots with Taguba.

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