SURIGAO del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, expressed strong objection to the plan of putting former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban under the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
According to Barbers, Guban has not yet given the investigation body, including Congress, vital information on who is behind the missing P11 billion shabu.
Barbers also said Guban has not yet proven he is the least guilty in the case.
Recently placed under the Senate’s protective custody as a “witness,” Guban had agreed to spill the beans on his longtime colleague, dismissed police Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto and other suspects in the shipment of the magnetic lifters believed to have been packed with up to P11 billion worth of shabu.
But Guban gave senators conflicting statements prompting them to cite him in contempt and placing him under the custody of the Senate.
He was later turned over to the National Bureau of Investigation following orders from President Duterte to file a case against him.
In a press conference, Barbers said the committee will still subpoena Guban to the next hearing, because some questions from the solons remain unanswered.
“But as far as I’m concerned, you can only be enrolled in the WPP if a case or cases have been filed against you already. And you are the less or the least guilty among the accused. In this case, medyo magulo pa, hindi pa s’ya clear,” Barbers said.
“Sa aking opinion, I will not even enroll him sa WPP kasi it seems na wala pa siyang mabigat na impormasyon na binibigay. Kaya nga tinatanong natin sino ba yung mastermind? Sino ba yung boss niyo? Sino ba yung superiors niyo? Where do you get orders from other than Acierto?” Barbers added.
The committee is set to resume next week the investigation into the missing shabu.
Barbers said the committee wants to establish the alleged connivance of erring officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Bureau o f Customs (BoC).
“Ito yung medyo establish natin, kung paano nakalusot, anong sistema ang ginamit. May manipulasyon sa papeles, may mga kunstaba sa mga agency na yan,” he added.
Meanwhile Barbers said former Customs commissioner Lapena has no accountability over the smuggled shabu reportedly amounting to P11 billion and is missing.
Barbers said there are other officials of the bureau that are conniving with officials from other concerned agencies.
“I will not speak in behalf of the committee. This is just an opinion coming from me. Wala akong nakikitang kinalaman ni Commissioner Lapeña diyan sa pagpapalusot ng mga shipments, ilegal na shipments or kargamentong ‘yan,” Barbers said.
Barbers even said Lapena is not guilty when asked if the doctrine of command responsibility applies to the situation.
“Well, if that would be considered, I don’t think it would apply to a criminal situation such as smuggling of illegal drugs, then sa tingin ko, wala pa ring, walang gano’ng kabigat na accountability si Commissioner Lapeña,” he added.