P6.4-B shabu haul sus­pects ‘slip away’

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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.

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