DOJ junks drug raps vs Faeldon, 11 BOC officials

Senator Richard Gordon (right), chair of the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation (Blue Ribbon), talks with Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon after he refused to answer questions of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (left) during a Senate hearing on the PHP6.4 billion worth of shabu shipment from China on Tuesday (August 15, 2017).

MANILA — The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday dismissed the criminal charges filed against former Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and 11 other BOC officials in connection with the PHP6.4 billion shabu shipment seized in Valenzuela City last May 26.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the DOJ panel headed by Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes dismissed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) complaint for conspiracy to import illegal drugs and protecting or coddling of drug traffickers under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act), negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code, and corrupt practices of public officers under Section 3 of R.A. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for lack of probable cause.

According to Aguirre, the DOJ cited PDEA’s “failure to state with clarity the acts or omission supposedly committed by the above-named BOC respondents that would constitute violation of the offense charged.” as basis in clearing Faeldon of the charges.

“Further, the evidence adduced by the PDEA in support of the charges were insufficient to establish probable case. Thus, the Panel is constrained to take into consideration the defense raised by the respondents,” read the resolution.

Aside from Faeldon, also cleared from raps were then BOC Director Milo Maestrecampo, Director Neil Estrella, Intelligence Officer Joel Pinawin, Intelligence Officer Oliver Valiente, Atty. JeleenaMagsuci, Atty. Philip Maronilla, Alexandra Y. Ventura, Randolph O. Cabansag, Dennis J. Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.

The DOJ panel likewise dismissed PDEA’s complaint for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) regulation under Sec, 32 of RA 9165 against the agents and investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation-Anti Organized and Transnational Crime Division (NBI-AOTCD), namely: Atty. Dennis Siyhian, Atty. Marie Catherine Nolasco, SI Marfil B. Baso, SI Joselito C. Guilen, SI Darwin Francisco and SI Edgardo C. Kawada.

The panel found that under the circumstances attendant to the case, and pursuant to relevant DDB Regulations and jurisprudence, the NBI-AOTCD is justified to retain custody of the 500 kilograms of shabu which they seized, examined and investigated.

PDEA’s complaint against the corporate officers of Hong Fei Logistics was also dismissed for failure of the PDEA to show that these corporate officers knowingly consented to or actively participated in the importation of the subject shipment.

Also, the case against Emily Anoche Dee for maintaining a drug den is likewise dismissed. The Panel finds lack of knowledge on the part of Emily that her property being rented will be used as a transshipment point of the subject drugs.

Regarding the case against Fidel Anoche Dee filed by the NBI-AOTCD, the same was also dismissed in view of the existence of an earlier case filed against him by the PDEA before the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City.

Pursuant to Department Order No. 004 Series of January 4, 2017, the dismissal of the cases against the BOC personnel, the NBI-AOTCD agents and investigators, the corporate officers of Hong Fei Logistics and against Emily Anoche Dee and Fidel Anoche Dee shall be subject to automatic review by the Secretary of Justice.

Meanwhile, the DOJ panel filed information for the crime of importation of Dangerous Drugs under Section 4, in relation to Section 26 (a) of Republic Act No. 9165 before the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City against customs broker Mark Taguba and nine others.

Aguirre said the DOJ panel of prosecutors issued a joint resolution on the complaints separately filed by the NBI AOTCD and the PDEA.

In their Joint Resolution, the panel found probable cause for “importation of dangerous drugs” under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9165 otherwise known as The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended, against the following respondents:

1. Chen Ju Long a.k.a. “Richard Tan” or “Richard Chen”
2. Li GuangFeng a.k.a. “Manny Li”
3. Dong Yi Shen Xi a.k.a. “Kenneth Dong”
4. Mark Ruben G. Taguba II
5. Eirene Mae A. Tatad
6. Teejay A. Marcellana
7. Chen I. Min
8. Jhu Ming Jhun
9. Chen RongHuan
10. other unidentified individuals known only as John Doe, Jane Doe and George Doe.

In finding probable cause against the above-named respondents for the importation of 602 kilograms of shabu, 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 over acts indicative of conspiracy to import into the country the dangerous drugs.

In view thereof, the Panel recommended the filing of the corresponding criminal information for importation of dangerous drugs against the above named respondents with no bail recommended.

Aguirre said the eradication of the menace of illegal drugs is one of our pronounced mandates in DOJ and the filing of the information in this case is one way to eradicate this threat for the better future of the youth and loved ones.

“We want to send a message that any involvement in drugs will be severely dealt with. You deal in drugs and you will suffer the full consequences.To those who are still involved in drugs, we are coming for you,” Aguirre stressed.

The drug shipment arrived at the BOC last May 17 and was released from the port on May 23.

Both Chen and Li denied having any knowledge that there were drugs in the shipment, initially declared as kitchenware, footwear and moldings.

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