P6.4-B shabu haul suspects ‘slip away’
MANILA - The Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court (RTC), citing “lack of jurisdiction,” has dismissed the charges for importation of dangerous drugs against several individuals in connection to a P6.4-billion shipment of shabu that slipped past port inspections last May.
Accused Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen alias “Kenneth Dong” Chen Julong, Mark Ruben Taguba II, and Teejay Marcellana had all asked for the quashal of the criminal case involving a violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, and the deferment and recall of arrest warrant.
In an 8-page order, the RTC Branch 171 granted their plea, saying it had no jurisdiction over the case because the importation of the 602.279 kilos of shabu from China took place in the port of Manila, not in Valenzuela City.
The fact that the drugs were seized in the Hong Fei Logistics Warehouse in Valenzuela is “immaterial in the charge for importation of dangerous drugs,” the order read.
The trial court added the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) position that the crime of importation of illegal drugs is a continuing offense “has no basis in law.”
Charges for continuing offenses may be filed in any court where the alleged crime took place in part, and not only in the place where the alleged crime originated.
Among the other accused in the case who did not file a similar pleading were Eirene Mae Tatad, Chen Min, Jhu Ming Jhun and Chen Rong Juan. DOJ FILES MR The DOJ, for its part, filed a motion for reconsideration on December 27, 2017, urging the RTC to reverse its order.
The DOJ, through Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes and Rodan Parrocha, and Associate Prosecution Attorney II Joan Carla Garcia, argued that even though the initial act of importation occurred in Manila, the shipment was “discovered, learned, and confirmed to be dangerous drugs” in Valenzuela City.
“In line with this, the prosecution maintains that this honorable court has authority and jurisdiction to hear and try the said case,” the DOJ’s motion read.
The DOJ said acts essential and material to the crime of importation of illegal drugs were committed in Valenzuela City since the accused brought and delivered the shipment in the warehouse located there.
The Valenzuela RTC already “acquired and exercised jurisdiction” over the case when it ordered on November 24, 2017 an ocular inspection of the illegal drug shipment, the DOJ added.
The DOJ further pointed out that the crime was not consummated in Manila because it was not yet known at the time that the contents of the subject container van were illegal drugs.
“The ingredient of discovery, which is clearly material, relevant and which consummated or accomplished the crime of illegal importation of dangerous drugs in this case occurred in Valenzuela City,” the DOJ’s
motion stressed. The DOJ also clarified that the crime of importation of dangerous drugs under the Tariff and Customs Code “cannot be applied” in the case and is, in fact, a “different and separate offense.”
To prove its point, the DOJ stressed that complainant Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed a separate case for smuggling, specifically unlawful importation, against the accused. The smuggling case is still pending with the DOJ, and has yet to be resolved.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue also filed a separate case for tax evasion before the DOJ on January 4 against Taguba and Kenneth Dong for alleged tax liabilities of P850 million and P11 million respectively.
An ongoing probe against the other individuals implicated in the illegal shipment is ongoing, the bureau said. IR/Abs-cbnnews
GOVERNMENT workers are seen here declogging the canals on the street in Cagayan de Oro apparently filled with unwanted wastes due to the advent of heavy rainfalls recently.