BOC to Lacson: Only tapioca starch was auctioned off, not shabu

(Eagle News)–The Bureau of Customs on Friday, May 31, clarified what it auctioned off in July was the tapioca starch alone and not the illegal drugs.

The BOC made the clarification after Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned its  sale of what he said was a shipment discovered in a Malabon warehouse on March 5 and which contained P1 billion worth of shabu concealed in 114 bags of aluminum pallets from Cambodia.

Lacson noted a public auction of prohibited goods is not the prescribed way of disposing them.

Goldwin Commercial Warehouse submitted the highest bid on April 22.

Saying it was aware of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act that specifies the prohibited items, the BOC said the tapioca starch was auctioned off because this was highly perishable.

The bureau  also noted it was the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency that was the lead agency in operations against illegal drugs in the ports.

“The bureau maintains close coordination with the said agency to ensure the timely and efficient apprehension of illegal drugs as well as the people involved,” the BOC said.

In his privilege speech on Wednesday, May 29, Lacson said corruption in the bureau remained unchecked, with the tara system still prevalent.

He noted, however, that  Customs commissioner Rey Guerrero remained “untainted” by corruption.