CA reinstates money laundering raps vs. Pasig shabu tiangge operators

MANILA The Court of Appeals (CA) has reinstated the money laundering charges against Amin Imam Boratong, his wife Memie Boratong, and several others who were earlier convicted of drug charges for operating a shabu tiangge in Pasig City.

In a five-page resolution dated July 10 and penned by Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan Manahan, the CA Former Special Second Division denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the Boratongs of its Jan. 29, 2018 decision.

The appellate court's decision reversed the rulings issued by the Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC) on May 28, 2013 and by the Malolos RTC on Dec. 3, 2013, which dismissed the money laundering cases.

The CA held that the respondents failed to raise new arguments that would warrant the reversal of its decision.

Substantially, the issues proffered by the private respondents were already addressed, sufficiently passed upon and resolved in the assailed decision. Hence, we find no cogent reason to warrant reconsideration or modification of our decision, the resolution said.

In its Jan. 29 decision, the CA held that the said lower courts violated the right of the prosecutors to due process when they prematurely dismissed the cases.

It explained that in the conduct of the criminal proceedings, the prosecutor has discretionary power to control the conduct of the presentation of the prosecution evidence, part of which is the option to choose what evidence to present or who to call as witness.

This was why, the CA said, by not giving the State the opportunity to present its evidence in court or to amend the information, the said trial courts have effectively curtailed the State's right to due process.

On Feb. 10, 2006, agents of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force swooped down on the shabu market allegedly owned by the Boratong couple in Pasig.

The shabu tiangge was found on Boratong's 2,000-square-meter compound along F. Soriano St. in Barangay Santo Tomas in Pasig.

During the raid, anti-illegal drugs operatives arrested hundreds of drug users and seized a large amount of shabu and numerous shabu paraphernalia.

In 2015, the appellate court upheld the Boratongs' conviction for drug offenses. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency