A Bureau of Customs deputy collector said that she had been receiving death threats after insisting that the magnetic lifters found in Cavite contained billions of pesos worth of shabu.
Customs Deputy Collector for Operations and former BOC X-ray Inspection Project chief lawyer Lourdes Mangaoang said she fears for her life due to death threats after claiming that the four magnetic lifters that were cleared and released by the bureau contained P6.8 billion worth of shabu.
“Yes there are threats. In fact, there are text messages that have been shown to me. The group claimed that they will make my life miserable. They will destroy me,” Mangaoang said in television interview.
“I am a little bit worried but I am being very careful, I hope the media will protect me because I’m just telling the truth,” she said.
But BOC spokesman lawyer Erastus Austria denied that Commissioner Isidro Lapeña had something to do with the alleged threats, saying that the accusation was far from the character of the BOC chief.
Earlier, Mangaoang, who is now assigned as Customs collector for passenger services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, told a congressional hearing that the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite contained shabu as shown by the X-ray result with cloudy shadow.
“There is difference in color that would mean something else is inside the magnetic lifters,” she said.
“Dogs don’t lie, X-ray machines do not lie, only people can lie. I am very sure it was deliberate, because that was modus operandi. To make it appear negative, the examiner may darken the image to cover the image,” Mangaoang said.
She also dismissed claims that the current X-ray machines weren’t functioning well, and therefore cannot penetrate such magnetic lifters.
“The X-ray can penetrate 11 inches of steel, therefore it can penetrate into the four inches (of) steel. What the Bureau of Customs officials is doing, they are covering up for the crime,” Mangaoang said.
The PDEA had found P2.4 billion worth of shabu inside the magnetic lifters at the Manila International Container Terminal last Aug. 7.
A day later, four more magnetic lifters were found in General Mariano Alvarez town in Cavite that were allegedly empty.
In a statement, Lapeña said that the issues being thrown to him was part of a propaganda to oust him because of the reforms he initiated.
“I would like to address some of the recent issues being thrown against me and the Bureau of Customs in the light of the alleged billions of drugs imported into the country through the magnetic lifters found in GMA, Cavite. For the record, I ordered for an investigation early on, from the time that two magnetic lifters containing 355 kilos of shabu were intercepted at MICP. In fact, two investigation teams were created relevant to these incidents,” he said.
“We still maintain that the four magnetic lifters consigned to SMYD Trading went through proper customs clearance. All X-ray images were submitted to the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs and the Senate Committee on Blue Ribbon. There is no single x-ray image kept from the eyes of the oversight committees. Let me stress again that I would submit to the results of the congressional investigation. Any statements made are pure speculations,” he said.
Lapeña said that internal cleansing and anti-corruption efforts must be hurting people from within and outside the organization that he feels there is a concerted effort to discredit the reforms the bureau is doing.