By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter

MALACAÑANG has offered P10 million for information that would lead to the capture of dismissed police officer Eduardo Acierto who faces charges in connection with the importation of multi-billion pesos worth of illegal drugs last year.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra confirmed the bounty but said he is “not privy to (its) funding source….”

“I will press the NBI, who’s under me, to search harder for these fugitives,” he said in a text message.

Mr. Acierto, who previously made headlines for linking President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic adviser Michael Yang to illegal drugs, was ordered arrested by Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 35 on April 12 for the importation of shabu kept in magnetic lifters, along with seven others.

Seven others were also ordered arrested by the court: former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy S. Guban, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director General for Administration Ismael G. Fajardo, Jr., Chan Yee Wah, Zhou Quan, Vedasto Cabral Baraquel, Jr., Maria Lagrimas Catipan, and Emily Luquingan.

This is in connection with complaints filed by the NBI and PDEA last year over the P2.4-billion shabu shipments sealed in two magnetic lifters found at the Manila International Container Port in August 2018 and P11-billion worth of the shabu in four magnetic lifters found in Cavite that same month.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted them on April 8.

On the other hand, the prosecution dismissed for lack of probable cause the complaints against 40 others over the drug shipments, including BoC officials and employees.

Prosecutors, however, have endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation the graft and dereliction-of-duty complaints against former BoC commissioner and now Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Isidro S. Lapeña and several others.