DOJ panel files drug smuggling raps in PhP6.4B Valenzuela City shabu bust

November 22, 2017 - 7:52 PM
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Mark Taguba
Customs broker Mark Taguba (left) testifying at the House of Representatives.

A Department of Justice Panel of Prosecutors on Wednesday sued before the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City an array of respondents for the importation of some 602 kilograms of shabu (crystal meth) with a street value estimated at PhP6.4 billion.

Reacting to this development, Department of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre said: “The eradication of the menace of illegal drugs is one of our pronounced mandates in your DOJ. You deal in drugs and you will suffer the full consequences!”

Previously, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors issued a JOINT RESOLUTION on the complaints separately filed by the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division and the PDEA.

In their Joint Resolution, the Panel found probable cause for “importation of dangerous drugs” under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9165 otherwise known as The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended, against the following respondents:

1. Chen Ju Long a.k.a. “Richard Tan” or “Richard Chen”
2. Li Guang Feng a.k.a. “Manny Li”
3. Dong Yi Shen Xi a.k.a. “Kenneth Dong”
4. Mark Ruben G. Taguba II
5. Eirene Mae A. Tatad
6. Teejay A. Marcellana
7. Chen I. Min
8. Jhu Ming Jhun
9. Chen Rong Huan
10. Other unidentified individuals known only as John Doe, Jane Doe and George Doe

The Panel said the combination of the individual participation of each of the respondents, “either as shipper, consolidator, facilitator, broker, financier, consignee, or warehouse lessee – reveals a pattern indicative of conspiracy to import into the country the dangerous drugs.”

This had prompted the Panel to recommend the filing of the corresponding criminal information for importation of dangerous drugs against the above-named respondents.

No bail was recommended.

In a related development, in so far as the complaint filed by PDEA against the Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel, namely: Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, Director Milo Maestrecampo, Director Neil Estrella, Intelligence Officer Joel Pinawin, Intelligence Officer Oliver Valiente, Atty. Jeleena Magsuci, Atty. Philip Maronilla, Alexandra Y. Ventura, Randolph O. Cabansag, Dennis J. Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor, the Panel dismissed the charges against them “for failure of the PDEA to state with clarity the acts or omission supposedly committed by the above-named BOC respondents that would constitute violation of the offense charged.”

For his part, Estrella said: “Colonel Neil Estrella: “My team who recovered those drugs were finally vindicated. We thank the Lord for hearing our prayers, as we also forgive those who have falsely accused us. It is partly the hazard of our profession. May we all find peace with this development.”

The Resolution stated that the evidence adduced by the PDEA in support of the charges “were insufficient to establish probable case. Thus, the Panel is constrained to take into consideration the defense raised by the respondents.”

The panel likewise dismissed the complaint filed by PDEA against the agents and investigators of the NBI-AOTCD, “namely: Atty. Dennis Siyhian, Atty. Marie Catherine Nolasco, SI Marfil B. Baso, SI Joselito C. Guilen, SI Darwin Francisco and SI Edgardo C. Kawada.”

The Panel additionally determined, among other details in related cases, that, “pursuant to relevant DDB Regulations and jurisprudence, the NBI-AOTCT is justified to retain custody of the 500 kilograms of shabu which they seized, examined and investigated.”