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24 May 2009

SBMA cited for timely action on drug case

Two government agencies cited the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vigilance in the seizure of over 700 kilos of shabu from a locator and now suspected drug trafficker Anthony “Anton” Ang, even as freeport industry leaders described the SBMA officials’ conduct in the seizure as an example of integrity in government service.

In the latest hearing by the Congressional committee investigating the attempted smuggling of over 700 kilos of shabu through the Subic freeport, the chief of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Dionisio Santiago cited SBMA’s vigilance resulting in the seizure of the illegal drugs.

“Had the SBMA personnel relaxed their guard in this case, billions of pesos worth of shabu would have flooded the streets,” Santiago said.

Earlier in the same hearing, Presidential Anti- Smuggling Group (PASG) chief Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr. expressed the same recognition of SBMA success in thwarting the smuggling attempt. The seizure is the biggest haul ever in the illegal drug trade.

Armand Arreza, SBMA administrator, gave the credit to SBMA personnel, saying their dedication and honesty in their job paid off, adding that “our boys did not waver in the face of deceit even as they exercised determined caution in giving locators the respect they deserve.”

“Our boys stood their ground, insisting on getting the shipping documents on the boxes that later turned out to contain shabu,” Arreza said, adding that “no inch was given in the demand for the shipping documents. They were protecting the interest of government after they were told by Ang the boxes contained sensitive computer parts.”

Ang, then being a known locator in SBMA, claimed that the cargo contained sensitive computer parts and requested it should not be opened while he promised to bring to the SBMA the required shipping document even when the boxes passed the dog sniffing screening to detect contraband.

Ang failed to return with the shipping documents on the promised time. The SBMA law enforcement team then called PASG, the government’s anti-smuggling group to open the boxes. It was only then that they found out the boxes contained crystalline substance that was suspected to be shabu.

The PDEA later confirmed the substance is shabu. The packaging of the shabu in boxes was intended to deceive sniffing dogs.

According to Arreza, three employees in the team that led the seizure of shabu boxes earned the “Gantimpala Agad” Awards of the Civil Service Commission while the rest were given commendations. This award is the reward component of the CSC’s “Mamamayan Muna, Hindi Mamaya Na” program. (Franco Regala, Manila Bulletin)

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