DOJ directs NBI to investigate ₱6.8 billion-drug smuggling case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will look into the alleged smuggling of ₱6.8 billion worth of illegal drugs into the country.

"Yes, I have directed the NBI to investigate the latest incidents of drug smuggling," Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Monday.

"Our investigation will consider all govt agencies, particularly the [Bureau of Customs], private shippers, brokers, cargo handlers, warehousemen, even other law enforcement agents, who may have something to do with these unlawful acts," he added.

He noted the "huge value of illegal drugs involved and the relative ease by which they were asported into [Philippine] territory."

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the multibillion-peso drug shipment slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BoC), which said it was not tipped on the possible presence of drugs. The PDEA attributed the shipment to the Golden Triangle syndicate from Taiwan.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the House of Representatives have also said they would investigate the issue.

While Malacañang maintains its trust in the BoC and PDEA, the smuggled drugs are not the first. Last year, about 604 kilograms of shabu worth ₱6.4 billion also slipped past the Customs Bureau.

Former Davao City Vice Mayor and presidential son Paolo Duterte was tagged in the shipment, and then-Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon resigned. An Ombudsman panel recommended charges be dropped against the former vice-mayor. Faeldon has since been assigned to the Office of Civil Defense.

Related: Paolo Duterte under investigation for graft, other charges at Ombudsman

CNN Philippines correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.