MANILA — Former Bureau of Customs (BOC) intelligence officer Jimmy Guban will be turned over to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday where he will be placed under the witness protection program (WPP).
This came following his execution of an affidavit, vowing to tell everything he knows on the shabu smuggling operations at the BOC.
Guban’s transfer to the DOJ was bared by Senator Richard Gordon in an ambush interview at the Senate after the hearing conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon panel on the alleged shabu smuggling activities at the BOC.
“He will be now turned over to the Secretary of Justice today. Delikado na siya dito (He is now in danger here),” Gordon said.
For obvious reasons, the exact time of Guban’s transfer to the DOJ was not bared to the media.
Guban has been under Senate detention since September 11 after Gordon, the chair of the Blue-Ribbon committee, cited him for contempt for supposedly giving false testimony.
Gordon said Guban’s entry into the WPP has been assured to him by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
He said the former Customs intelligence officer holds vital information and it was Guban who unraveled the shabu smuggling operations at the BOC.
In his affidavit which he read during the hearing, Guban said he is committed to tell the truth and shed light on the ongoing investigation into the twin PHP6.4 billion and the PHP 6.8 billion worth of shabu shipments that slipped through BOC inspections, as well as the widespread corruption at the agency.
“I am also executing this affidavit, being a witness to a crime, which I should have prepared a long time ago so that I myself would be guided accordingly whenever questions would be asked of me during the previous hearings both in the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives,” he said.
In his affidavit, Guban detailed his participation in the apprehension of the first illegal shipment, contradicting his earlier testimony that he was involved in bringing in the contraband.
He also detailed the participation of several key BOC and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel in the alleged smuggling and in the apprehension of the illegal drugs.
Guban said he understands that may he have made statements which may tend to incriminate him as a participant to the commission of illegal importation of illegal drugs, or statements which tend to become an admission on his part.
“It is because of several reasons: among them was the lack of knowledge on the nature of the investigation and the stress brought by it; fear for my personal safety and family and my long confinement and detention,” he said.
“Therefore, I myself, for more questions and inquiry, will answer them as much as I can in detail, and explain or clarify, if necessary, the details which are already available in the transcripts of the stenographic notes forming part of my statement in order to attain the desired outcome of this investigation,” Guban said.
Meanwhile, Gordon said he would also recommend the inclusion of Customs Deputy Collector Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang under the WPP after the latter admitted to receiving death threats.
In the same hearing, Mangaoang said she had been receiving threats after attesting that the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite last August contained shabu.
She had also been accusing former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña of “covering-up” the entry of the contraband despite her and PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino’s insistence that the magnetic lifters found in Cavite contained illegal drugs.
“Ia-apply ko rin si Mangaoang (to the WPP) kasi nagkakainitan sila dyan dahil sa mga sinasabi nya sa Customs at tsaka sa mga sinasabi nya rito (I will also apply Mangaoang because of tensions at the BOC due to what she is saying against Customs and to what she may be saying here),” Gordon said.
Gordon said he had already talked with Guevarra on the matter and got a “favorable” response. Jose Cielito Reganit/PNA – northboundasia.com