Shabu lab issue far from closed
posted 25-Mar-2018  ·  
1,450 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

The filing of four separate cases against National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) official Augusto Eric Isidoro, farm caretaker Lorenzo Pinera II, six Chinese nationals and a Filipino over the Virac shabu laboratory last week does not close the controversial issue.

The subsequent arrest of Isidoro and Pinera by the authorities in Manila and in San Andres town merely starts the ball rolling at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 where the cases have been consolidated.

Sorely lacking in this picture of an apparent significant accomplishment of the Department of Justice (DOJ) are the living bodies of Paolo Uy, Jayson Gonzales Uy, Raymond Lee, Paolo Wee Palisoc, Phung Yuan Estorco and Sheng Wang, the Chinese nationals who made shabu at night in the clandestine shabu laboratory.

Unfortunately for Pinera, nobody among the DOJ probers and prosecutors believed his story that a day before the Nov. 26, 2016 police raid, eight armed men who identified themselves to be NBI agents swooped in at 2 P.M. and dragged him to the lab. The Chinese drug manufacturers were later seen leaving the compound, bound for San Andres where they hired a motorized banca for the midnight crossing to Camarines Sur.

Unfortunately also, nobody else apparently investigated his claim by talking to the construction workers at the road widening project just across the highway, to verify if they saw the eight armed men at the time they were working.

There are many questions left unanswered: Who were these armed men, one of whom reportedly had a distinctive scar on his face? If the regional police had known about the suspected shabu lab as early as July 20, 2016, why did it take them four months to finally seek the help of the local government and only after their attempt to enter the compound under the guise of a BFP inspection failed? Why did the police hold on to the results of the forensic examination of the cellphone of slain businessman Larry Que when some PNP officials were certain that it contained references to the shabu lab?

Where was the rest of the equipment found at the scene, including the P3-million diesel genset that was allegedly spirited out after the raid? What really happened to the digital video recorder at the warehouse that was supposed to contain recordings of the comings and goings at the compound? Was the original DVR replaced with the rusty one recovered at the scene? Or should we believe the possibility that the six new CCTV cameras were paired with an old DVR?

The four cases is expected to hinge on the credibility of the star witness against Isidoro, whose counsel would hammer on the lack of corroborating evidence, as well as the level of involvement of Pinera. This scenario assumes that the six Chinese nationals would remain missing and unaccounted for until the cases are resolved.

What this means is that the people of Catanduanes would have to be satisfied, for now, with the upcoming order of the Court for the destruction of the drug evidence confiscated at the shabu laboratory. This would also mercifully end the 24/7 guarding of the typhoon-damaged warehouse and its notorious contents by three eight-man teams of the Philippine National Police, a costly security operation charged to the pockets of Juan de la Cruz.


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