Chinese bizman in P6.4-B shabu haul seeks dismissal of drug raps

MANILA — Chinese businessman Chen Ju Long, also known as Richard Tan, has asked the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court to dismiss the case filed against him in connection with his involvement in the P6.4 billion shabu shipment.

Tan is the owner of Hong Fei Logistics that consolidates shipments from China, and whose warehouse in Valenzuela City was found to have kept wooden crates that contained metal cylinders allegedly used to clandestinely transport illegal drugs into the country.

Based on documents obtained from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Tan filed a five-page motion before the Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court Branch 171 seeking to defer the issuance of an arrest warrant pending resolution of his bid to dismiss the case for violation of Section 4 (importation of dangerous drugs) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Tan requested the court to “hold in abeyance the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him or recall any warrant for his arrest if one has already been issued.”

Tan’s motion stated that the Valenzuela court has no jurisdiction over the case because under the law, “the place where the crime was committed determines not only venue of the action but is an essential element of jurisdiction.”

Tan argued that the crime was committed in Manila where the shipment slipped past port inspections.

The motion reasoned out that under Section 1202 of the Tariff and Customs Code, importation begins when the carrying vessel or aircraft enters Philippine jurisdiction and ends upon payment of duties, taxes and other charges at the port of entry.

“Verily, considering that the alleged importation of dangerous drugs charged in the assailed Information (charge sheet) began and was terminated in the Port of Manila, jurisdiction cannot be acquired by this Honorable Court,” the motion stated.

“In light of the foregoing circumstances, the accused respectfully moves for this Honorable Court to quash (dismiss) the assailed Information for lack of jurisdiction,” the motion further read.

Tan was intercepted by Bureau of Immigration (BI)-CIA personnel after learning that he is a subject of an Immigration Lookout Bulletin (ILBO) in connection with the P6.4 billion illegal drugs shipment.

BI Spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang said Tan was about to leave the country for Shanghai Pudong via China Eastern Air Flight No. 5046 at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga early Thursday.

“At about 3 a.m. Thursday, BI personnel in Clark intercepted Richard Tan alias Chen Ju Long, subject of ILBO, in connection with the 604 kilos of shabu,” she said in a statement.

The DOJ panel of prosecutors found probable cause to charge him in court.

Aside from Tan, also charged were Customs fixer Mark Ruben Taguba II, Li Guang Feng alias Manny Li, Dong Yi Shen Xi alias Kenneth Dong, Eirene Mae Tatad, Customs broker 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.