Gordon threatens constitutional crisis over judge hearing 800-kg shabu seizure case

September 19, 2017 - 10:54 AM
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Senator Richard Gordon talks to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV in an earlier hearing on corruption at the Bureau of Customs. (Senate PRIB file)
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MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon threatened to “create a constitutional crisis” over the failure to destroy more than 800 kilos of crystal meth or “shabu” seized in San Juan City last December, which he blamed on the trial court judge handling the case.

An angry Gordon ordered Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to submit a sworn statement as soon as possible detailing what the Cabinet member said was a conference he had with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in Cebu last month in which they supposedly discussed the case involving what has been called the largest drug haul in the country’s history, which also led to the arrest and charging of several Chinese and Filipino suspects.

“I will call this judge and institute constitutional crisis because they are violating the law,” Gordon said.

During the continuation of the Senate’s hearing into the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of shabu through the Bureau of Customs on Tuesday, September 19, representatives of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency admitted that the drugs seized in December were still intact but with only 560 kilos in the custody of PDEA, the rest still with the NBI.

When Gordon asked why the drugs had not yet been destroyed as required by the law, he was told that this would require a court order from the judge handling the case, identified as Juvencio Gascon, and that the judge had yet to complete his inspection of the seized drugs.

He was also told that the judge, in the course of his inspection, had taken several samples from the packed drugs for testing.

An irked Gordon asked if the judge knew the law as he pointed out that the law only requires judges to conduct an ocular inspection once the drugs have been tested by law enforcers and then to order the destruction of the evidence immediately after.