The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 75 dismissed the motion for bail filed by the accused Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kam Wah Kwok and Kwok Tung Chan, all from Hong Kong.

No bail for 4 Chinese in shabu lab
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2018 - 12:08am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has successfully blocked the bid for temporary liberty of four Chinese suspects arrested in July 2016 in connection with the floating shabu laboratory in Subic after a court dismissed the motion for bail of the accused.

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 75 dismissed the motion for bail filed by the accused Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kam Wah Kwok and Kwok Tung Chan, all from Hong Kong.

In a resolution promulgated last Dec. 22 but released by the DOJ yesterday, RTC Judge Raymond Viray held that “there is no clear showing that the prosecution’s case is weak as to entitle the accused to bail.”

Records showed that authorities arrested the four Chinese off the municipal waters of Barangay Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales on July 11, 2016 aboard a 50-meter fishing vessel which was found to be a laboratory used for the manufacture shabu. Half a kilo of shabu worth P2.5 million was seized from them.

They were indicted for violation of Article II, Sections 8 (Manufacture) and 11 (Possession) of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).

The trial court explained that the presence of equipment used in manufacturing shabu was “prima facie proof of manufacture of dangerous drug.”

“In addition, shabu in its finished product was found inside the boat and which leads the discussion to the other charge of drug possession,” the ruling added.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, head of the DOJ prosecution team handling the case, welcomed the court decision.

“We welcome this development, especially because this case was filed just one and a half years ago. The court acted properly and speedily based on nothing but the clear facts and evidence,” he said in an interview.

Escape try

A Filipino-Chinese businessman tagged in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment seized by the Bureau of Customs in May last year has tried to slip out of the country by allegedly bribing immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City with P10 million.

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) revealed yesterday that Dong Yi Shen alias Kenneth Dong recently attempted to leave the country following the dismissal of the drug charges filed against him by the Valenzuela City RTC.

Antonette Mangrobang, spokesperson for the BI, bared that their port operations division at the airport submitted a report about the incident where Dong was accused of offering P10 million to immigration officers to allow him to leave the country.

“We are now investigating the incident,” she said in an interview, but did not give more details that she said needed to be verified first.

Still, Mangrobang stressed that the BI has been strictly enforcing rules at the airports and exit points in the country.

“Our immigration officers are always on alert in enforcing the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order issued by the Department of Justice on the personalities involved in the drug shipment cases. We will not allow anyone to bribe our officers,” she assured.

Earlier, another Filipino-Chinese businessman tagged in the shipment –Chen Ju Long alias Richard Tan – also attempted to leave the country but was barred by BI agents at the airport.

Last Nov. 29, Chen attempted to leave the country on China Eastern Air Flight 5046 bound for Shanghai Pudong, via the Diosdado Macapagal International Terminal (DMIA) in Pampanga.

Dong and Tan were among those indicted before the Valenzuela RTC for violation of Section 4, in relation to Section 26 (a) of RA 9165 from the complaint filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

But the court recently dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue then filed multimillion-peso tax evasion charges against Dong and another accused, customs broker Mark Taguba.

Justice Secretary Vitallano Aguirre II has ordered an investigation into the reported attempt of Tan to slip out of the country and offer to bribe immigration officers.

The DOJ will study the possible filing of an attempted case of corruption of public officers once the agency establishes the names and identities of those involved in the case.

While there are no warrants of arrest against the respondents, the DOJ secretary noted that they are subject of an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (IBLO).

Following the decision last month of Valenzuela RTC Judge Maria Nena Santos to dismiss the cases against Tan and his companions, Aguirre said the National Prosecution Service has filed a “timely” motion for reconsideration.

Aguirre echoed the argument by prosecutors that the Valenzuela court has jurisdiction over the case.

The DOJ prosecutors filed a 17-page motion for reconsideration dated Dec. 27, 2017, asking Valenzuela City RTC Branch 171 presiding judge Santos to reverse her ruling dismissing the criminal case against Chen, also known as Richard Tan or Richard Chen; Li Guang Feng, also known as Manny Li; Dong Yi Shen Xi, also known as Kenneth Dong Yi or Yi Shan Dong; Mark Ruben Taguba II; Eirene Mae Tatad; Teejay Marcellana; Chen I-Min; Jhu Ming Jyun; Chen Rong Huan, and three other still unidentified respondents.

In its plea, the DOJ panel of prosecutors, led by Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes, said the Valenzuela RTC has clear jurisdiction to try the cases even if the drug shipment entered Manila first.

Aguirre said they expect the court to resolve the motion on Monday.

Reports quoted state prosecutors’ argument that the crime of drug importation “was not yet fully consummated” as it was not yet known at the time that the contents of the container van were dangerous drugs worth P6.4 billion.

The DOJ motion for reconsideration also requested that the court comply with the provisions of Section 5, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure and issue warrants for the arrest of all the accused within 10 days from the filing of the information, considering that most of them are flight risks. – With Christina Mendez

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