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30 April 2009

OSG lauds SBMA’S full support in drug case probe

The Office of the Solicitor General has lauded the management of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for providing full support to the fact finding panel that is investigating the smuggling of more than 700 kilos of shabu into the Subic Bay Freeport a year ago and the circumstances leading to the escape of the principal suspect, Anthony Ang.

Solicitor General Agnes VST Devanadera said that since the SBMA has jurisdiction over the places where the P5-billion worth of drugs were seized by SBMA law enforcers, the agency should lead them to the places mentioned in the reports.

“And we are getting the very best support,” Devanadera said, adding that the support they have received from SBMA is better than what they expected.

Devanadera heads the fact finding teeam of the Malacañang-appointed panel headed by former Supreme Court Associate Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino, with former Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Raoul Victorino and San Beda Graduate School of Law Dean Ranhilio Aquino as members.

“The role of the OSG is really to gather the materials so that it will be easy for the panel to conduct its investigation. For example, now we’re getting names, we’re getting places. The next days, some of the members of the panel will come over. And by Monday, the panel is ready to start the hearing,” she said.

Before arriving in Subic, Devanadera admitted that they thought the SBMA officials would not be available to accompany them. SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, however, who is on an official business trip in the United States, called her up assuring her of SBMA’s all-out assistance.

“Iyon bang extra efforts na ganoon, syempre nakita namin yung suporta and that we really appreciate, she noted.

Earlier on, SBMA officials said they welcomed the investigation and expressed hope that “it would bring out the facts of the case so that speculations could finally be set aside.”

During their inspection, the team was welcomed and assisted by SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado, who has been designated officer-in-charge while Arreza is abroad; Law Enforcement Department Manager Gen. Orlando Madela (ret); Deputy Administrator for Legal Affairs Atty. Bob Ongsiako and other SBMA senior officials.

The team inspected the different areas mentioned in the reports submitted by the PASG, the SBMA and the police, as well as other documents pertinent to the case.

“So tiningnan namin kung saan nagdock, paano iyong movement nung shabu, and then how they got to the different places - like the 60 boxes that went into this warehouse, but there is no record of how these boxes got in here,” Devanadera said.

Senior Deputy Adminstrator for Support Services Ramon Agregado, meanwhile, said that SBMA is fully supporting the Griño Panel or any investigating body that is looking into the case of Anton Ang.

“SBMA is providing the physical requirements for the ocular inspection of the (Griño) commission. Basically, we’re providing for the needs of the Commission in terms of documentation, the testimonies of the SBMA witnesses and access to the places where the drugs were seized,” he said. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

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