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DoJ suspects Solar hole tied to oil smuggling

October 23, 2006

Inquirer, Oct. 23, 2006

WERE PIRATES pilfering oil behind the mysterious hole caught by the cameras of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that was sent down in late August to film the sunken MT Solar I?

The Department of Justice believes that oil smuggling was partly to blame for the sinking of the tanker in rough weather off Guimaras province on Aug. 11 while it was ferrying 2.1 million liters of oil for Petron Corp.

Justice Undersecretary Ernesto Pineda has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to track down the MV Bonifacio, the vessel seen alongside the Solar I before it set sail from its Iloilo shelter on that fateful day.

However, there is no record of the Bonifacio with the Maritime Industry Authority. The vessel was believed skippered at the time by a brother of Solar I captain Norberto Aguro.

According to NBI Director Nestor Mantaring, his agency is seriously pursuing the investigation.

(For the full story, click DOJ suspects.)

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IS the Department of Justice chasing after ghosts? How apropos considering the upcoming Halloween!

This ‘oil smuggling’ theory has been beaten to death, and yet, ’til now DOJ can’t find evidence of another vessel siphoning oil from M/T Solar I while at sea. So what do our intelligent justice officials do? Find the brother of the Solar I skipper who just happens to be a captain of another vessel. And of course, 2+2=7! Brilliant!

Now the DOJ has conscripted even the NBI (who has more than enough unsolved cases on its hands that it can handle) to do its ghost-chasing. And if no further physical evidence is found of this so-called ‘oil smuggling’ theory, what will the DOJ think of next? Probably have the NBI find the Aguro brother and beat a confession out of him?

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