By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
Without an arrest warrant preventing him, a businessman tagged in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China tried to leave the country with the help of an Immigration employee, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre disclosed.
Aguirre, in a Palace press briefing yesterday, said they received information last week that Richard Chen, the owner of the warehouse in Valenzuela City where the shipment was found last May, tried to leave the country with the help of an Immigration employee.
However, Chen was unable to leave as he is a subject of an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order issued by Aguirre for his alleged involvement in the shabu smuggling attempt.
“We’ve received reliable information that one of these respondents was trying to get out of the country. He was timely prevented by the issuance of the ILBO,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre added that the unnamed Immigration officer has since went Absent Without Official Leave. He said that the Department of Justice has received information that Chen tried to bribe another Immigration officer but he rejected the offer.
Aguirre said Chen may still try to leave the country through other means as no arrest warrant has been issued against him in connection with the shabu smuggling attempt.
“Twice na siyang nag-attempt to leave the country. Hindi natin alam, he could leave the country through some other means like using fake documents,” Aguirre said.
“The only thing that is preventing him from leaving the country is the ILBO. We don’t know if he will still persist to leave the country through some other means,” he added.
The Justice Secretary said they have no idea if Chen is still in the country. “We don’t know kung nandito pa siya.
Wala pa namang information from the Bureau of Immigration na nakaalis na siya so the presumption is he is still here,” Aguirre said.
The Justice Secretary said the National Prosecution Service has filed a motion for reconsideration following the dismissal of the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling case by the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court againsy Chen and several others. The court dismissed the case filed due to “improper venue.”
The price to freedom is very expensive. Mamahaling padulas enough to entice the Bi officer to look the other way.