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Immigration officer in hot water over P6.4-b shabu mess

THE Justice Department on Thursday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to find an immigration officer who tried to help a Chinese businessman leave the country after being linked to smuggling in of P6.4 billion worth of shabu.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the immigration officer, whom he did not name, tried to assist Chen Julong, alias Richard Tan board his plane bound for China.

Immigration officers at Clark International Airport, however, stopped Tan from leaving after his name appeared in the Bureau of Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order list.

Tan , the owner of a warehouse in Valenzuela City where the shabu shipment was seized, tried to leave the country several times, the last time through the Clark in Pampanga.

Aguirre said that several persons tried to lobby for Tan leave the country, including the immigration officer who is now absent without leave.

He said the Justice Department has already asked the Valenzuela Regional Trial Court to reconsider the dismissal of the criminal case against Tan and several others in connection with the P6.4-billion shipment of illegal drugs last year.

State prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration dated Dec. 27, 2017 asking Valenzuela City RTC Branch 171 presiding Judge Maria Nena Santos to reverse her ruling dismissing the criminal case against Tan or Richard Chen; Li Guang Feng, also known as Manny Li; Dong Yi Shen Xi, also known as Kenneth Dong Yi or Yi Shan Dong; Mark Ruben Taguba II; Eirene Mae Tatad; Teejay Marcellana; Chen I-Min; Jhu Ming Jyun; Chen Rong Huan; and three other still unidentified respondents.

Aguirre said the dismissal of the case would not affect the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has prevented a bid to gain temporary freedom for four Chinese nationals arrested in July 2016 for operating a floating shabu laboratory in Subic.

This came after the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court, Branch 75, turned down the motion for bail filed by the four accused from Hong Kong—Win Fai Lo, Shu Fook Leung, Kam Wah Kwok and Kwok Tung Chan.

In a resolution dated Dec. 22, but released only on Thursday, Judge Raymond Viray ruled “there is no clear showing that the prosecution’s case is weak as to entitle the accused to bail.”

The court said the presence of equipment used in manufacturing shabu was “prima facie proof of [the] manufacture of [the] dangerous drug.”

“In addition, shabu in its finished product was found inside the boat, which leads the discussion to the other charge of drug possession,” the ruling said.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, head of the DOJ prosecution team handling the case, welcomed the court decision.

Records showed that authorities arrested the four Chinese off the municipal waters of Barangay Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales on July 11, 2016 aboard a 50-meter fishing vessel which was found to be a laboratory used for the manufacture of shabu. Half-a-kilo of shabu worth P2.5 million was seized from them.

They were indicted for violations of Section 8 (Manufacture) and 11 (Possession) of Article II of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Topics: shabu mess , illegal drugs
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