Typo cleared fixer in P6.4 billion shabu case
A typographical error in the date of the drug importation was tagged as a culprit in the dismissal by a Valenzuela court of the drug transportation case filed against Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba and several others over the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.
Geremy Pintolo
Typo cleared fixer in P6.4 billion shabu case
Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A typographical error in the date of the drug importation was tagged as a culprit in the dismissal by a Valenzuela court of the drug transportation case filed against Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba and several others over the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.

Government prosecutors appealed the dismissal of the case, correcting the case information that the drug importation actually took place on May 16, 2017, not May 26, as stated in the charge sheet filed at the Manila regional trial court.

In its ruling, the Valenzuela RTC Branch 284 said that because the information filed at the Manila court alleged that the drug importation of 602 kilos of shabu took place on May 26, 2017, while the delivery and transportation took place from May 23 to 24, the drug delivery was deemed absorbed as a component of the importation case.

In its motion for reconsideration dated May 8, the prosecuting panel told the Valenzuela court that it had filed a motion to amend the information before the Manila court to state that the drug importation took place earlier, or on May 16, 2017.

“To set the record straight, we would like to stress and point out that there was a typographical error in the date reflected in the criminal information filed with the RTC-Manila... The prosecution already moved for the amendment of the criminal information by placing therein the correct date of the commission of the crime of importation of dangerous drugs,” the prosecution said.

Besides there being no basis for the court order dismissing the drug delivery case because it is deemed absorbed in a separate case in Manila, the DOJ panel also denied it committed forum shopping for splitting the drug shipment offense into importation and delivery.

It said the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act specifically separates the offense of importation of dangerous drugs from that of the transportation and delivery of dangerous drugs.

According to the prosecution, at the instant the ship carrying the cargo of shabu docked at the Port of Manila, the importation offense was deemed consummated. When the respondents transported the shipping container of metal cylinders where the shabu was stashed to a Valenzuela warehouse, the drug delivery was separately committed.

The DOJ panel also found it suspicious that its comment opposing to the motions filed by Taguba and his co-accused Teejay Marcellana and businessman Richard Chen, delivered by registered mail, failed to reach the court for its consideration before it ruled on the motions.

While the drug transportation case was dismissed against the big players, warehouse caretaker Fidel Anochee Dee is on trial for illegal drug possession. The elderly Dee was implicated because it was one crate containing 100 kilos of the shabu shipment was addressed to him.

MARK RUBEN TAGUBA SHABU
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