Aguirre slams senators irked by DOJ dismissal of drug raps vs ex-Customs execs

November 25, 2017 - 6:59 AM
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Justice Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II, in PNA file photo.

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday slammed senators displeased by the dismissal of the criminal charges filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and 11 other officials of the agency over the P6.4-billion shabu (crystal meth) shipment seized in Valenzuela City in May.

Aguirre said the DOJ was resolving cases only on the basis of evidence and if the senators were not satisfied, they can file a petition for review or a motion for reconsideration.

Masyado mabilis mag-comment ‘tong mga senator na ito, hindi nila nalalaman kung ano ang proseso dito sa DOJ. Kaya bago kayo magbuka ng bibig, yung mga ibang senador d’yan, mag-aral muna kayo, hindi niyo nalalaman proseso dito, (Some senators are quick to comment but they do not know the process. I suggest before they open their mouths they study the process),” Aguirre said.

The DOJ dismissed PDEA’s complaint for conspiracy to import illegal drugs and protecting or coddling of drug traffickers under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act), negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code, and corrupt practices of public officers under Section 3 of R.A. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for lack of probable cause.

It cited PDEA’s “failure to state with clarity the acts or omission supposedly committed by the above-named BOC respondents that would constitute violation of the offense charged.”

Among the senators who expressed disappointment with the resolution were Panfilo Lacson, Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Richard Gordon.

Aguirre also stressed that he did not interfere with any resolution of the National Prosecution Service.

Ilang beses ko ba sasabihin hindi ako nakikialam sa NPS? Hindi ko kailan man ginawa at hindi ko kailan man kinausap yan. (How many times do I have to say that I am do not interfere with the NPS? I have never done that and I do not even talk to them.),” he said.

“As of this stage, the case is still in the preliminary stage and the Office of the Secretary has still nothing to do with the proceedings there. As a matter of fact, I have not yet read the resolution of the National Prosecution Service. Because puwedeng um-appeal sa akin ‘yan at merong automatic review ‘yan kasi drug case ‘yan. (They can file an appeal and there is an automatic review for that because it is a drug case.) Whether it is dismissed or not, I will review that. It has to go up to the Secretary,” he added.

He also said he is ready to face the Senate should they summon him for investigation.

“I am willing to (be) investigated. Pupunta ako sa inyo, sasama ko lang ‘yung DOJ panel ko because I have trust in them. (I will come to you with my DOJ panel because I have trust in them). I am sure we will be able to justify kung bakit ganyan ang naging conclusion (I am sure we will be able to justify why we came up with such a conclusion),” he said.

Aside from Faeldon, also cleared of the charges were former BoC Investigation and Intelligence Service chief Neil Anthony Estrella director Milo Maestrecampo, intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente, Jeleena Magsuci, Philip Maronilla, Alexandra Y. Ventura, Randolph O. Cabansag, Dennis J. Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.

The DOJ also cleared from liability respondents from the National Bureau Investigation’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division, corporate officers of Hong Fei Logistics and Emily Enoche Dee.

However, the DOJ found probable cause to indict for importation of dangerous drugs under Section 4, in relation to Section 26 (a) of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the following: Chen Ju Long, alias Richard Tan or Richard Chen; Li Guang Feng, alias Manny Li; Dong Yi Shen, alias Kenneth Dong; Mark Ruben Taguba II; Eirene Mae Tatad; Teejay Marcellana; Chen Min; Jhu Ming Jhun; and Chen Rong Huan.