BOC failed to heed warning on shabu shipment

MANILA-- Suspended Bureau of Customs (BOC) official Larribert Hilario on Wednesday said he requested an alert order to be issued on the suspicious shipment from China which turned out to contain PHP6.4-billion worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), but his request was not acted upon.

Hilario, former head of the BOC's risk management office, made this revelation during a House inquiry on the multi-billion peso shabu shipment.

Hilario was blamed by Customs officials for the BOC blunder and was suspended from office after he failed to tag the drug shipment as contraband in the BOC's computerized classification system.

In the hearing, Hilario said he requested BOC-Importation Assessment Service (IAS) to issue an alert order on the suspicious shipment registered by customs broker Teejay Marcellana from EMT Trading. Marcellana had previous derogatory records.

Hilario said IAS Director Milo Maestrecampo replied on May 22 that the request cannot be acted upon, which in turn, did not lead to a full physical examination of the shipment.

"The importations should have been put on hold and there should have been physical examinations. All the contents of the container, they would be opened and examined if they were declared correctly, Hilario said.

Faeldon, when asked for his reaction, said it was his first time to hear the side of Hilario.

Source: Philippine News Agency