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DoJ’s move to strengthen P6.4-B shabu case lauded

Senator Richard Gordon on Sunday lauded the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) move to strengthen the drug importation case filed against the suspects in the smuggling of the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China in May last year.

Gordon, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said it is imperative that state prosecutors are able to file an airtight case against the suspects in keeping with the Duterte administration’s resolve to pursue an end to the illegal drug trade.

“This was a very big shabu shipment and with the Duterte administration waging a war on drugs, it could be the centerpiece of this administration if the DoJ will win the drug case filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC),” Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon said he is glad that Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra is forming a new team to handle the case and strengthening it.

The senator pointed out that the Senate blue ribbon panel has conducted its own thorough investigation on the controversy and submitted a comprehensive committee report complete with recommendations accompanied by sufficient information and evidence.

“We have investigated this exhaustively and submitted a comprehensive report that all they need to do is to take appropriate action,” he said.

Charged in the said cases were Richard Tan, owner of the Hong Fei Logistics warehouse in Valenzuela City where the drug shipment was found; fixer Mark Taguba II; alleged middlemen Manny Li and Kenneth Dong; import company owner Eirene May Tatad; Customs broker Teejay Marcellana; and Taiwanese businessmen Chen I-Min, Jhu Ming Jhun, and Chen Rong Huan.

Last month, the Manila RTC also issued hold-departure orders against the six foreigners indicted in the case.

Early this week, the Office of the Ombudsman’s special fact-finding team recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges, including violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation of Section 32 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, among others, against former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and other Bureau of Customs (BoC) officials. (Hannah Torregoza)