BOC seeks indictment of 9 persons on smuggling raps

MANILA -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) sought the indictment of nine persons on smuggling raps filed against them in relation to the seized PHP6.4-billion shabu shipment from China.

During the continuation of the preliminary investigation on Wednesday, the BOC submitted their reply-affidavit to Assistant State Prosecutor Charles Guhit which seeks to indict the respondents on the charges for violations of Republic Act 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act) and Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).

Defendants are one in their denial that there was no connivance among themselves. However, it is clear that based on their overt acts, each defendant may be constituted as principal by indispensable cooperation, read the BOC's nine-page reply-affidavit.

The respondents are Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba, businessman Kenneth Dong, Chen, Eirene May Tatad, owner of EMT Trading, consignee of the drug shipment, Chinese businessman Chen Ju Long, also known as Richard Tan, Taiwanese nationals Chen Min and Jhu Ming Jyun, warehouseman Fidel Anoche Dee, Marcellana, Li and unidentified individuals whom the BOC believed to have been involved in the shabu shipment.

Guhit said he hopes to wrap up the preliminary investigation of the BOC complaint by January 4 when all of the parties would be asked to submit their respective memorandum.

Under the BOC complaint, all nine respondents are accused of unlawful importation in violation of provisions of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

Tan is the chairman and general manager of Philippine Hongfei Logistics Group of Companies Inc. which owns the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the 604 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, was discovered last May 26.

The businessman was barred from leaving the country for China since he is placed in the Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) after the DOJ filed charges before the Valenzuela City regional trial court against him and eight others based on the complaint filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in connection with the drug shipment last November 22.

They were charged before the RTC with importation of dangerous drugs under under Section 4, in relation to Section 26 (a) of Republic Act No. 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The DOJ panel of prosecutors found probable cause to charge him in court in connection with the charges filed by PDEA and NBI.

Aside from Tan, also charged were Mark Ruben Taguba II, Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi alias Kenneth Dong, Eirene Mae Tatad, Tee Jay Marcellana, Chen I. Min, Jhu Ming Jhun and Chen Ronghuan.

The panel determined that the combination of the individual participation of each of the respondents, either as shipper, consolidator, facilitator, broker, financier, consignee, or warehouse lessee - reveals a pattern of overt acts indicative of conspiracy to import into the country the dangerous drugs.

The panel recommended no bail for each of the accused.

Source: Philippine News Agency