Manila port collector on drug shipment: We followed procedure

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 4) — The district collector of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) says procedures were followed in the release of a shipment that later on was found out to have contained P6.4 billion worth of shabu.

Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla told CNN Philippines' News Night on Friday that the shipment was tagged under the green lane, meaning it should be facilitated expressly.

"Under the green lane means no additional documentary and physical examination should be done — unless we receive derogatory information," Maronilla said.

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He added that port officials were not the ones approving the release of shipments as these were already "pre-cleared" by the Customs' risk management office.

"We do not have the release trigger... We do not know the risk management office parameters which change from time to time," he said.

Maronilla said the information on the container came "belatedly from China" on the evening of May 25 — two days after the shipment had already been released.

"It's unfortunate that what should have been tagged under the red lane was in the green lane," he added.

Maronilla's clarifications come after Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon had earlier told CNN Philippines' The Source that rules in releasing containers were stringent but it depends on the implementation of the commanders or collectors at different ports in the country.

But Faeldon said he was not blaming Maronilla. However, he added, "But when you're a commander, you're supposed to be on top of everything that happens to your unit."

Meanwhile, Maronilla said he has had several meetings with Faeldon to discuss what had happened.

"I did explain to him. That's why the conclusion then was we look at and review our selectivity system," Maronilla said.