The consignee of the four magnetic lifters believed to contain P6.8 billion of shabu was detained in the Senate after Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon cited her in contempt for lying.
Gordon warned Marina Signapan, owner of SMYD Trading, that she would be restricted in the detention facility of the Senate until she tells the truth about the smuggling of the ton of shabu that slipped through the Bureau of Customs last month.
“She will be confined here at the Senate premises. If she continues to lie after three days, we will bring them together with Mr. (Jimmy) Guban to the Pasay City Jail,” Gordon said.
After “several attempts at compassion and understanding,” Gordon said that Signapan had lied on her status as consignee.
“And she cannot claim that she was just consignee. She appears to be lying and for me she is lying. The chairman now declares Signapan under contempt of the Senate,” he said.
Gordon at first told Signapan that he didn’t want to cite her in contempt and detained in the Senate since she is a woman and especially because she is “a senior citizen.” Gordon even repeatedly gave her the chance to retract her statement. But Signapan stood her ground and reiterated her earlier statement that she was just a mere consignee who was paid P180,000 for the job. She even begged Gordon to spare her the contempt charge.
Gordon repeated his question, but again Signapan insisted that she was just tapped to be the consignee and a certain Joel Maritana paid her P180,000 for handling the fees, duties, and taxes.
But Maritana said that it was Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer Jimmy Guban who introduced him to Signapan.
The magnetic lifters were found empty at a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite in August. Authorities believe that the seized magnetic lifters were used to transport illegal drugs, which they said had already slipped past them and could already be circulating in the streets.
Customs officer Jimmy Guban has remained in the Senate custody after he was cited in contempt in last week’s Blue Ribbon committee hearing.
Meanwhile, Gordon directed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Director General Aaron Aquino to arrest certain Chan Yee Wah, alias KC Chan, Albert Chan, or Tony Chan, the alleged mediator of a drug syndicate suspected of bringing tons of shabu into the country.
In a related development, the Department of Justice on Wednesday said there is no need yet to seek assistance from the International Criminal Police Organization in determining the whereabouts or to arrest Cebu businessman and suspected drug lord Peter Lim who went into hiding after being indicted for conspiracy in the illegal drug trade.
“Too early to alert Interpol. No record that Peter Lim has left the country since his indictment,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message sent to reporters.
Based on records from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Lim left the country in March and returned four days later. Since then, there was no record of his departure from the Philippines.
More than a month after the DOJ filed the charges against Lim and his co-accused before the Makati City Regional Trial Court, efforts by authorities to apprehend him remain unsuccessful.
This prompted the DOJ to put up a P500,000 reward for any information that can lead to the arrest of the fugitive businessman.
Guevarra even warned that anyone coddling Lim will be prosecuted for obstruction of justice.
“The government is also ready to give a reward of PHP500,000 to anyone who can give information on the exact whereabouts of accused Peter Go Lim, provided that such information will lead to the actual arrest of said fugitive,” Guevarra said.
During the arraignment last Aug. 28, neither Lim nor his co-accused Ruel Malindangan showed up but the other two accused — self-confessed drug dealer Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa and Marcelo Adorco -- pleaded not guilty to the two counts of the non-bailable offense of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade.
Both Espinosa and Adorco are in government custody, while Malindangan is at large and is also the subject of an arrest warrant issued by Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 65 Judge Gina Bibat-Palamos.
Last Aug. 14, the court issued a warrant of arrest against Lim and also ordered the Bureau of Immigration to prevent Lim from leaving the country by issuing a Hold Departure Order last August 17.
Espinosa, Adorco, and Malindangan are also facing two counts of conspiracy to commit illegal drug trade at the Manila RTC and Makati RTC, along with convicted drug lord Peter Co and alleged drug supplier Lovely Impal.