May 27, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Panel probes shabu hauls in Pampanga, Subic

THE House Committee on Dangerous Drugs chaired by Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Wednesday began its investigation into the apparent proliferation of the illegal substance methamphetamine hydrochloride, more commonly known as shabu, in the areas of Pampanga and Subic, Zambales.

The investigation was launched after Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. and Barbers filed House Resolution (HR) 1346 reporting the seizure of shabu worth P3.6 billion and another batch worth P1.3 billion in the Pampanga municipalities of Mexico and Mabalacat, respectively. 

The investigation also touched on the P3.8 billion worth of shabu shipment intercepted at the Subic Freeport, as reported in HR 1351, filed by Rep. Jefferson Khonghun. 

Barbers took note that many of the invited guests and resource persons who can shed light on the matter were absent in the hearing, for health-related reasons.

The panel issued a show cause order to the invited guest Architect Alex Tumang, while a certain Roy Gomez was cited in contempt because the committee considered his reason for skipping the hearing as invalid.

House members present in the meeting tried to establish the identities of the incorporators of Empire 999 Realty Corporation, on whose property some of the shabu was found.

Lawyer Elizer Ambatali of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) attested that Willie Ong, one of the incorporators of 999 Realty, was a Filipino. Atty. Vicente Uncad of the Bureau of Immigration said his agency has a record of another person with the same name who is a Chinese citizen. 

The panel also sought to establish the citizenship of the incorporators of Yatai International and OMNI Corporation, the registered owners of the properties where shabu was also found. 

During the hearing, Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano (Party-list, Abang Lingkod) showed the panel a matrix showing the interconnection between the companies Empire 999 Realty Corporation, Yatai Industrial, Yatai International, OMNI and Pharmally.

“Kung tatahi-tahiin natin, all the personalities involved dito sa usapin tungkol sa Empire 999, Yatai incorporation, warehouse where the shabu was deposited, are all personalities with Chinese-sounding names,” Barbers observed, adding that the apparent involvement of Chinese nationals suggests that the shabu issue is simply a part of a larger threat to national security. 

“Gaya ng sinabi ni Congressman Paduano, hindi lang drugs ang usapin dito. National security na ito,” Barbers warned. 

He and Paduano then requested resource persons from the PSA, BI, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and other concerned agencies to submit to the panel pertinent documents establishing the identities of the cited persons, particularly their nationalities and business interests.