By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Wednesday finished its preliminary investigation over the P6.4-billion shipment of illegal drugs which were seized last May.
Assistant State Prosecutor Aristotle Reyes, who chairs the panel of prosecutors handling the case, has declared the case submitted for resolution after respondents filed their respective rejoinders during Wednesday’s last hearing of the preliminary investigation.
The panel conducted the preliminary investigation over the criminal complaint filed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Apart from the PDEA, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed separate complaints.
In PDEA’s complaint, the respondents were accused of conspiracy to import illegal drugs and protect or coddle drug traffickers in violation of Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The BOC officials named as respondents in the PDEA complaint are Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon; directors Milo Maestrecampo and Neil Anthony Estrella; intelligence officers Joel Pinawin and Oliver Valiente; Manila International Container Port district collector lawyer Vincent Phillip Maronilla; Faeldon’s fiancee, lawyer Jeline Maree Magsuci; and BOC employees Alexandra Ventura, Randolph Cabansag, Dennis Maniego, Dennis Cabildo and John Edillor.
The PDEA included in its complaint importers and facilitators of the shipment, namely, Chen Ju Long, Chen Rong Juan, Manny Li, Kenneth Dong, Mark Taguba II, Teejay Marcellana, Eirene May Tatad, Emily Dee, Chen I-Min and Jhu Ming Jyun.
Also named as respondents are officials of Hong Fei Logistics Inc., which owns the warehouse where the drug shipment was seized, namely, Genelita Arayan, Dennis Nocom, Zhang Hong, Rene Palle, Richard Rebistual and Mary Rose Dela Cruz.
Apart from the drug charges, Faeldon and the 11 BOC officials and personnel are also accused of obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829 for harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of the persons behind the drug shipment.
The 12 respondents are also charged with negligence and tolerance under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code as well as for violating Section 3 of Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Joint operatives of the BOC, PDEA, and the NBI seized 604 kilograms of methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, on May 26 during a raid of a warehouse of Hong Fei Logostics in Valenzuela City.
The shabu shipment managed to enter the country through the BOC after being declared as kitchenware, footwear and moldings.
In its complaint, the PDEA blamed “incompetence and corruption of the Bureau of Customs officials” for the shipment of the 604 kilograms of shabu.
“As can be culled from the proceeding discussion, the gross inexcusable negligence, manifest partiality, or bad faith of Commissioner Faeldon, Dir. Maestrecampo, Dir. Estrella, Pinawin, Valiente, Atty. Maronilla, Ventura, Cabansag, Maniego, Cabildo, and Editor made possible the importation of 602.279 kilograms of shabu and the evasion of Chen Ju Long from being arrested and prosecuted,” the PDEA stated.
Tags: Bureau of Customs, Dennis Maniego, drug shipment, Manila Bulletin, National Bureau of Investigation, Nicanor Faeldon, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, preliminary investigation, respondents, Zhang Hong
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